How to Start Your Business in a Shared Working Space

It’s Day 1 of your brand new work environment. You have high hopes of success. But, now you need to know how to start your business in a shared working space so that you make the most of every opportunity to thrive.

For starters, you will want to find the best location and negotiate the best rates before you move in and set up shop. If you are checking out the space on a trial basis, you’re going to want to bring with you only what is absolutely necessary to conduct business until the end of the trial period.

It’s Move-In Day!

You’ve found the perfect co-working space to get started with building your business, and today is the day it all begins. How much office equipment and supplies you bring along to set up the first day is going to depend on a few factors. Mainly, if you’re renting only on certain days or specific hours during the day and sharing a desk, you’re going to bring a lot less personal items along than if you are using a dedicated desk area.

Meet the community

Once you have your workspace set up, it’s time to get acquainted with your new neighbors. Remember, that these others who rent the co-working space alongside you are far more than equal co-workers. They are each an independent innovative source of fresh ideas and energy. As you meet each one, try to make a connection that will be good for both parties as your working relationship blossoms. Make the most of every networking opportunity as this is one of the best untapped resources now at your fingertips through co-working. If your new office space offers after-work events, take part in as many as you can.

Now it’s time to get productive

Now that you’re all set up and have met a few people, it’s time to begin your actual day-to-day work. Since co-working spaces are typically open work areas, it can often get a bit noisy. If you find it difficult to focus with a lot of commotion, make sure you’re prepared to minimize the distraction whenever possible by using noise-cancelling headphones or setting up meetings in a quiet conference room whenever possible. Just remember that conference space is in demand, so you will need to make sure you properly reserve the space ahead of time. If you are in the habit of playing music while you work, be mindful of others around you.

To ensure you’re doing your best without disturbing the people around you, get the best noise cancelling earbuds you can, regardless of whether it is wired or wireless– whichever you prefer.

Sounds and scents can ruin a day

Each location has its own sound level tolerance or expectation, but all co-working spaces can get noisy. When several people are conducting phone business at once from the same open area, things can escalate in a hurry. Do your part to be considerate to the business of others as well by keeping your phone voice at a pleasant level. Also, when congregating in a central area and chatting, try to be aware of those around you who are on the phone.

Likewise, be aware that certain scents can trigger allergies or headaches in some people, so always be mindful of cologne, perfume, lotion, or air fresheners that you use. Also, if you eat at the office, choose to pack foods that don’t have a strong odor when heating, eating, or lingering in the trash all day.

Always maintain proper etiquette

There are also a few etiquette rules to put into play to make sure you are treating your fellow office share workers like you want to be treated. One general rule is to clean up after yourself. Take a hint from a hiker’s motto or The Scouts to leave the area better than you found it.

Be considerate, know your boundaries, and give back

Some co-working spaces provides general office supplies, while others are going to expect you to bring your own.  Nevertheless, if you find yourself in a situation where you need some office supplies, make sure you don’t become that office worker who is always asking to “borrow” someone’s else stapler, pen, paper pad, etc. If you do need to ask, do your best to replace what you borrowed at your very first and earliest convenience. Also, when you use something, replace it. For instance, if you use up the printer paper, refill it. If there is a paper jam, clear it. If you unplugged something to access an outlet, plug it back in when you’re done. If you use the last spot of coffee in the pot, brew a fresh one.

The same borrowing rule comes into play when it comes to food. Never eat someone’s lunch without their permission. Don’t create a situation where everyone feels as though they must label everything or it will be taken.

Don’t be a space hog

Only use the space you are allowed to use. Yes, it is a shared office, but this is within limits and guidelines. You have an assigned area or desk, and while networking is encouraged, don’t overstay your welcome away from your desk. When you respect the space of others, they will in turn respect your space as well. Another area is the conference room. Make sure you properly schedule time for shared spaces within the co-working office space.

Work by the Golden Rule

Generally speaking, always be friendly and courteous treating others how you would want to be treated. Part of the benefit of sharing workspace is tapping into the networking opportunities. Make sure your colleagues know that you will always have their back.