Because of millennials or the gig economy or some dumb Silicon Valley faux wisdom, or all three reasons, co-working spots are now all the rage. In fact, I’m writing this in a co-working space. They have obvious perks: free coffee and beer, nice bathrooms, sometimes cute dogs run around. But, like any spot in which strangers are forced to spend all day together, you sometimes get a few assholes who ruin everything. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you do not become one of those assholes.
1. Be Quiet
Being quiet is the easiest thing to do in the world—just don’t make any noise!—and yet people have so much fucking trouble doing it. No one is saying the co-working place has to be quiet like a library or monastery; you should be able to have a quick conversation with colleague or answer your phone as you make your way to a phone booth or designated talking area. Please note the emphasis on “quick” and “as you make your way”—do not linger with your loud bullshit. Last week, a man made not one but two lengthy and loud calls from a shared space, and both were about crickets. No one wants to hear two 30-minute calls about anything, much less one about bugs. Be quiet, man!
2. Don’t Sit So Close To Me
If there are plenty of open seats and tables available, do not sit directly next to or across from a random person. Why would you do that? How is it even possible that you think something like that is a good idea? Do I look lonely? Am I at your lucky table? Before you answer any of these questions, get up and move the fuck away.
3) Mute Your Phone and Computer
Does your phone go “ding” when you get a text message? Does your Slack or Gchat make a sound every time you get a message? Are you currently in a communal area where people are working and its generally understood that you should be making as little noise as possible? If you answered yes to all three questions, then you are a bad person.
As noted above, any unnecessary sounds are unwelcome in a co-working space, but a notification sound that is literally the same one that every other person in the room has is especially obnoxious. Every text or Slack message you gets sends us reaching for our phones. Mute your shit.
4) Don’t Be Gross
Personally, I have not experienced this but a colleague told me she recently watched in horror as a man drenched in sweat—like he’d just gone for a long run or something—sat his sweat-covered body onto one of the nice couches where people sit when they need a break from the regular desks. Ew. Don’t do that.
5) Avoid Smelly Lunch Foods
The other week a woman sitting at my table interrupted whatever important thing I was probably doing with the following warning about her lunch: “I’m about to eat some tuna. Let me know if it smells too bad.” I kind of appreciate the gesture but…maybe don’t bring smelly-ass food for lunch in the first place? Seems easy to do with so many other options out there.
This concludes my lesson on how to avoid being a dickhead in your co-working space. I’m sure we’ll all be considerate and cool now, and work will finally be fun for everyone.