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The co-working megatrend has given rise to a new office label – ‘co-irker’

From poaching staff to being untidy, avoid making these common mistakes in your co-working space.


Co-working is one of the biggest buzzwords in the business world today. To provide some context, in 2007, there were only a dozen or so co-working spaces around the globe. Fast forward to today and that number has grown to more than 21,000. The Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) predicts by 2022, the number of co-working offices will exceed 30,000.

With the steep rise, many are scrambling to find the most productive way to make the most out of these cool new arrangements. Unlike with traditional offices, flexible workspaces contain a number of separate businesses that work independently while sharing common resources. As with any shared space, there are bound to be some hiccups. Founder and Managing Director of @WORKSPACES Jenny Folley says in order to make it a good experience for all, there must first be some ground rules.

“Just like any office, co-working spaces are going to have a set of etiquette standards that workers should abide by in order to maintain a healthy and fun work environment. Co-working environments offer something that traditional office environments simply don’t. If you follow the etiquette, you’ll get so much more out of the experience and probably plenty of new business opportunities, as everyone networks,” Folley said.

Avoid being a co-irker by following these simple co-working etiquette tips:

  • Don’t be too noisy: Avoid standing in hallways while talking loudly on your phone. And, consider others when you’re having a robust conversation in the corridors by seeking out a private room. Some co-working offices even offer dedicated soundproofed booths to keep noise levels at a minimum.
  • Dress appropriately: This portrays a professional environment in front of clients, so dress your best for everyone’s sake.
  • Keep the kitchen tidy: In co-working offices, there can be a sense that since you don’t own the kitchen, then you don’t have to maintain it. That’s silly. Leaving an area as you found it is really important.
  • Don’t treat the office like your personal lounge room: Most co-working offices have a common area. These are for relaxing or informal gatherings. Respect the space and leave room for everyone to enjoy.
  • Don’t poach staff: In this environment, it’s natural that you’re going to find someone you want to bring over to your team. But, you must go through the proper channels first. Poaching can cause divides in the office environment, making things awkward.
  • Be personable: One of the main reasons people turn to co-working spaces is to have a social environment while they work. Use this to your advantage to network and collaborate with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. It will be good for both your social and business life.

While these etiquette rules may seem like common sense, Folley says most would be surprised by the number of people who don’t show basic consideration towards others in co-working environments.

Singapore’s co-working space is booming, leading to differentiating to stand out in a crowded market. More than just desks and a wi-fi connection, these innovative spaces feature everything from beer-and-coffee bars to sleeping capsules and high-tech lab facilities. Read more about it here.

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