Nagging Questions: Coworking

By 2020, more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be “independent workers” – freelancers, contractors and temporary employees, reports Fast Company.

This economic shift makes coworking spaces – shared offices for multiple business interests –more relevant than ever. Individuals who use coworking report high satisfaction: 71 percent say they are more creative, 90 percent feel more confident, and 62 percent say their measure of work improved significantly.

Of course, since coworking involves people, sometimes there are people challenges. When a manager or business owner brings employees into a coworking space, it’s essential to maintain clear communication, address potential distractions and protect all company data.

Some of our frequently asked coworking questions:

My employees and I work in a coworking space. One of our neighbors constantly tries to distract them with small talk. How can I handle this when the offender doesn’t work for me?

A simple discussion usually works. Keeping it light, just engage in a conversation and let the offender know you encourage people getting to know each other, but your team has a ton of work to do. A pleasant conversation pointing out the facts is usually enough to keep it from happening again.

We use a coworking space, so I don’t have a private office. Am I required to keep my HR records locked?

Absolutely! Anything that could compromise the safety of your employees’ records must be locked away. That extends to client information too.

What security or other business policies should I introduce while we're in coworking space?  

Again, confidentiality is a big one; locking files is another. You should take confidential conversations into a private room, and do make sure your employees don’t leave anything considered confidential out for others to see.

Our coworking space has Beer Fridays and a ping-pong table – it's really great, but how can I make sure employees aren't burning too much time?

That is a simple management issue. Have a conversation around expectations, then a follow-up conversation if people are getting too distracted with fun time. Welcome to the wonderful world of employee management!

The HR Help Desk exists to help entrepreneurs set up for success – and to protect their businesses and reputations. If you have people, you need people policy – call us today at 855.474.2836 or email us at