When we tour potential members at Groundwork, we get this question a lot: is it okay to talk on the phone at a coworking space? In short, yes. But there are many factors to consider:
How is the layout of your coworking space?
Some spaces have phone booths, small enclosed rooms that are designed specifically for phone calls. Other spaces might have a specific area designated for talking on the phone. At Groundwork, most of our space is wide open, so members often take calls in front of others. Some members prefer to take calls in one of our lounge areas, some like to pace around the space, and others will grab a table in the cafe/gallery.
What is the current mood and noise level?
At our space, the levels fluctuate quite a bit. Monday mornings tend to feel like a library in here, with everyone quietly concentrating. Wednesday afternoons or Friday afternoons can be rather busy, with lots of conversations happening. On quieter days, you might prefer to reserve a room or sit in the cafe area to take a call. When it is busy, you might feel comfortable taking a call right at your desk as your voice will blend in with the background noise.
Do you have a loud voice?
Yes, you need to have a level of self-awareness when you are in a shared work environment. Some people have booming voices that project across the whole space when they are on the phone. Others can be at the desk next to you and you have no idea they are talking. If you have no idea how loud you are, ask someone in your vicinity. This shows that you are courteous and making the effort. Generally speaking, if you are loud and on the phone for longer than 10-15 minutes, you should book a room or grab a phone booth.
Do you need privacy?
This might be stating the obvious, but if you are having a private, confidential, or sensitive conversation book a room or phone booth.
Be a good community member:
The important thing to remember is that you are part of a community. Your coworkers are here because just like you, they want to work around others. So remember your coworking etiquette. Be considerate and thoughtful and take some time to consider the factors before you jump on a call.