When co-working spaces first hit the business scene, the shared office spaces were merely for the self-employed or entrepreneurs creating their first startup. Now, we’ve seen these spaces evolve into thriving communities of young professionals not only sharing their areas, but their ideas, too. But there is certain co-working space etiquette users need to know.

As the owner of a shared space designed specifically for artists who don’t fit the traditional “businessperson” mold, I’ve been able to see creativity bloom through my center. But, with so many different work personalities occupying the same room, things could descend into chaos. If you’re planning on setting up shop at your local co-working center, make sure you’re aware of the very important unspoken rules first.

Keep it clean

The first rule is a two-for-one. You don’t have to have the most organized work station, but it is common courtesy to keep your area clean. That means yesterday’s lunch can’t stay out for three days straight and crumpled paper must find its way comfortably into the trash can, not the floor. Similarly, what you say and how you say it is very important. Make sure that you keep your expletives to a minimum and avoid any sensitive jokes. What you find funny, someone else might find offensive.

Leave the volume on low

Whether you’re taking a phone call, listening to music or brainstorming with a coworker, remember to be mindful of your volume levels. Sound is one of the main sources of conflict in a workspace so making sure that you’re doing your best to stay quiet can avoid a lot of problems. At the end of the day, you want to be respectful of the shared environment you’re in and this is the perfect place to start.

Mind your manners

On bad days, good days and all the days in-between, always treat those around you courteously. It may sound elementary, but saying “please” and “thank you” can go a long way in the professional setting. It helps keeps things civil and leads to better business. On a similar note, while co-working spaces aren’t traditionally formal, make sure to keep your private life private. Airing out your personal problems to the office can negatively affect how others treat/think of you.

Pick up on social clues

If you see your desk buddies with their headphones in, typing fervently away at their keyboard with reckless abandon, leave them be. Either wait until they’re done or look for another person to bounce ideas off of. Co-working spaces are meant for socialization but you have to make sure you’re not bothering someone who doesn’t want to be bothered.


Michelle Biely is the founder and owner of the Creative Center of Scottsdale. Located on 3616 N. Scottsdale Rd., the center provides open workspaces, private offices, daily meeting areas, an outdoor event courtyard and a second-story patio to sole proprietors and artists of all kinds.  The Creative Center of Scottsdale can be found on Facebook and Instagram.