Thanks to covid, many companies are now geared toward a long-term shift in flexible, hybrid working. This means a combination of working from home, working in the office, and working from anywhere with a reliable WIFI connection.
Coffee shops, libraries, coworking spaces, there’s plenty of locations now readily accessible for those looking for a change of scene to help create boundaries between home and work life. But just what is the proper etiquette for working in a public place that isn’t within the safety of an office full of colleagues or a home full of those legally or biologically tied to you? Check out our dos and don’ts to find out…
Do be considerate
When working out of a place of business, you really should buy something from the establishment as recompense for draining the life out of their WIFI, aircon, electricity and toilets all day. Plus, if you think one measly skinny flat white will cut it while you take up valuable retail space on overpriced trendy sofas all day then just be aware that all of the staff are openly plotting your untimely death.
Don’t go meeting-heavy
If there’s anything worse than having to actively participate in your own Zoom call it’s having to listen to someone else participate in theirs, repeatedly. If you know you’ve got a meeting heavy day then make sure you chose your public, communal workspace carefully. The last thing you want to do is get blacklisted from your top potential meet-cute spot for distracting everyone from ignoring their emails all day.
Do bring headphones
Headphones should be an essential everyday work item. Whether this is to drown out the noise of others, focus on an assignment or simply to listen to a potentially embarrassing voice note from the Magaluf 2007 group chat in private, noise-cancelling headphones are an absolute lifesaver in the busy world of public space working.
As tempting as it might be, working in a public space around actual other people is NOT an open invitation to indulge in ‘banter.’ Try and bury the urge to engage in excessive small talk while others are clearly trying to focus on their work as this does not make you cool and charming, it makes you very annoying – and a little creepy.
Don’t rearrange the place
Be mindful of how much space you’re taking up. As much as many welcoming places will tell you to ‘make yourself at home’ setting up two huge screens, a fan and a complete stationery set might be a little much for even the most generous of establishments. Plus, if you need to move the future around to accommodate your work set-up then do try to keep your footprint to a minimum and be sure to put everything back where it belongs when you’re done. You wouldn’t think kindly of a house guest who re-orientated your sofa to get closer to a plug socket and then didn’t even help you move it back in place, would you? So, show your workspace host the same courtesy when you pack up shop to leave.
Working flexibly gives employees the freedom to work wherever they feel most productive and focused, however, it can take time for people to find the right environment, schedule and rhythm that works for them. These are just a few ideas for working considerately while out and about, for more insight on how to get the most from WFH or how to stay productive in the office, check out the rest of our Thoughts page for more top tips!