Do we automatically respect working spaces that aren’t our own?

At our ‘Belong at Work’ event in November a member of the audience asked our panel how users of shared work spaces can be encouraged to respect them. Does clearing up lunch crumbs and tidying papers come naturally, or does it need to be policed?

Charlie Green from The Office Group said he is constantly amazed how respectful people are in their co-working spaces. He thinks it’s because people don’t feel like they are just renting space; they have membership to a ‘club’ and with that comes a sense of respect for the other members and the spaces they are sharing. They’ve had very few issues in their buildings with mess, people even stack the dishwasher! You may expect a very different response from Gary Wingrove from the corporate giant that is BT, but not really. He said one of the major benefits of improving work spaces was that they get respected a lot more. If ‘a space is tatty it will be left tatty’ and even small improvements, like a tidy up or moving furniture around, results in people treating areas differently, without being prompted. 

So is the answer to shared-desk cleanliness cared for spaces? Helen Berresford certainly thinks that helps, but it’s also about planning for nomadic workers. Care of the agile should be a top priority. Simple things like knowing where to put your coat, get a coffee and charge your phone should be a certainty, not an exercise in time wasting and frustration. These small, seemingly simple things are what make agile workers feel welcome and give them a sense of belonging, or membership, to their temporary (but spotlessly clean!) home. 

See some highlights of our ‘Belong at Work’ panel members talking about the spaces agile workers use and how they