That time has come that your business has outgrown your home office and you need real office space (even if it is shared or only part-time) that has a professional business address. Your best choice is a downtown office business centre that has several options. When we talk about office space options at a business centre, three primary ones come to mind: Private offices, semi-private offices and shared office space/coworking offices. For the purposes of this article, we will be talking about adjusting to shared office space/coworking offices – since that will probably be your best option when you first move out of your home office. Shared office space is also your best option in terms of flexibility regarding when you can utilize the space. Why? You pay only a small monthly fee for unlimited access during regular business hours. With coworking, you become a member and choose from various packages of number of days or hours per month that yo can access. Moving from a home office to working in a shared office environment with other businesses, will take some getting used to. So we gathered a number of tips that will make it easier for you.

Keep your desk organized. No one wants to see a messy and unprofessional workspace, so don’t let your desk be that “eyesore” that others talk about. Remember that you don’t have a private office with the luxury of office storage. This means finding creative solutions to keep your desk tidy. One such method that we see people in our shared office space at Telsec use, are portable accordion file cases. So only carry the files and papers that you need with you.

Be aware of how much noise you are making. Most likely everyone working around you is trying to focus on his or her own work, so you want be courteous with your noise level. If you want to listen to music, bring headphones and ask those around you if the volume is bleeding out of your headphones. Unless you are a quiet telephone talker or are making or taking short telephone calls, consider taking a walk down the hall or into a common area such as a break room or a lounge if you are planning a long conversation or a conference call. It’s best to plan when you are going to take those extended conversations or conference calls and book meeting rooms.

Finding a quiet place to work when you need it. Most shared offices or coworking spaces are almost never at capacity because everyone works on their own schedule. So it should not be too hard to find an area that is under-utilized. Failing that, you could always book a meeting room (depending on your allotted meeting room time per month) and close the door. One thing to consider is that at the end of the day (especially on Fridays), meeting rooms are not in high demand – so booking one at the last minute should be easier. Depending on business centre policy, the staff may allow you to utilize an empty meeting room at the end of the day or on a slow day. Some may not even charge it against your allotted amount of meeting-room time.

Be scent sensitive to others around you. Being scent sensitive applies to both your physical being and the space around you. Many shared office spaces are adopting a scent-free environment because of scent allergies. But this also means being considerate of eating foods at your desk with smells that are strong and tend to not dissipate quickly.

Other people are trying to work too, so respect their time. Too often, because of the intimate workspace and social nature of coworking and shared office environments, you will find yourself starting conversations with those around you (especially if you see them often). Try to avoid taking up too much of their time and allow them to get their work done. If the conversation you want to have with them is for business purposes, ask them when a good time would be to talk about it. But if the conversation is of a social nature, invite them to join you in the shared lounge or in a local coffee shop. Again, regardless of the nature of your conversation, be aware that others also come into the office to get work done – and their time is just as important to them as yours is.

Be prepared to be flexible. When you are working in a more open and collaborative coworking space, this means that impromptu meetings will inevitably happen. You may encounter those times when it is too loud to concentrate or to take private telephone calls. So plan contingencies for these occasions. Instead of making a point of asking people to keep it down, be prepared to be flexible and remove yourself from the area where the conversation is taking place. If the weather is good, you can take your laptop or tablet outside and work for a while. If the conversation is more social in nature and not one that you want to enter into, allow them some reasonable time – and if it takes too long and becomes a distraction, ask them if they might be more comfortable having that conversation in a lounge or common area. This is also a great reason to ask the business centre (at the time of deciding on a shared office space or coworking environment) if there are spaces available where you can work alone when you need to.

It is important to remember that a shared office space is not for everyone – but more importantly, you will not know how it will work for you until you actually try it. This is why there are no long-term leases to sign and you can choose to use the space when you want to. If you were to rent shared office space at Telsec and you found that you needed more privacy and more storage options, you could always upgrade to a semi-private office suite without having to change your business address. It has been the experience of Telsec semi-private office tenants, that the schedules of the two people sharing an office are often different, and tenants can have the feeling of having a private office.