Coworking spaces share a lot of features with ordinary offices. The place is conducive to productivity, internet connection is a must, and, above all, proper snacking etiquette is upheld.
Just because you’re not in your own office space, it doesn’t mean you should leave your table manners behind. You’re sharing the space with freelancers and employees from other companies, so it’s only fair that you practice consideration, especially when food is concerned.
So, here’s a refresher of the snacking etiquette in a shared office.
Contain Odors and Mess
In some virtual office spaces in major cities like NYC and LA, coworking spaces feature huge room divisions that give workers privacy. These divisions, however, are no match against meals with strong odors. The scent wafts throughout the room and disrupts workflow.
So, be mindful when packing your food. Spice-filled and vinegar-heavy meals make a hearty lunch, but your co-workers would appreciate it if you choose a sandwich or a simple salad instead. You won’t be disturbing anybody while you have your fill.
Then, clean up after yourself. Once you’ve used the communal eating area, leave no trace of the food you’ve eaten. Any trash should be thrown away, spills should be wiped. Do not leave food out to rot.
One more thing: your desk or cube is sacred, so avoid eating there. There’s a huge possibility that you share one table with your co-workers, or they sit really close to you. They wouldn’t want to hear you munching or smell the fresh Philly cheese steak you just bought. It also prevents you from dropping food crumbs on your keyboard and spilling drinks all over your desk.
Be a Courteous Eater
If you spot a problem in the communal eating area, don’t leave it be — solve the problem yourself. If the garbage bin is full, call for the cleaner instead of cramming your trash into the container. If the pantry ran out of paper towels, refill it or take it to the attention of the shared office staff.
The same goes for food items. If you finish the coffee, start a fresh pot. If the sugar bowl or salt shaker is running low, refill it. Are you the last one to take a donut from the box? Don’t leave the frosting-laden box lying around; fold it and throw it away.
Hands Off Other People’s Lunch
Under no circumstances will you be the office fridge thief. It may seem like a forgivable offense, and that sandwich looks really good right now, but do not confuse the communal fridge with communal food. Remember, your co-workers took time off their day to walk a few blocks and buy that lunch or woke up early to prepare their meal. If you’re really considerate, you will not lay a finger on their food.
Moreover, you may have a sick colleague who has transmitted a virus to their food. You have a mountain of workload; a virus is the last thing you need right now.
So, you will get up your seat, walk a few blocks to buy food, eat, then clean up after yourself.
After all, it costs nothing to be considerate towards your co-workers. You all came to this shared office space for one reason: to do all you have to do right before the deadline. So, help make the office a headache-free zone, and be a courteous worker.