If you’ve never worked at a flexible workspace before, the idea can be intimidating.

It’s like a “normal” office, but it’s different. There’s people from other companies, something called “coworking” is going on and maybe even beer on tap.

Since the earliest days of Desana, we’ve received lots of different questions from users about what they should be doing, how they should be behaving and even what they should be wearing.

So we thought it might be handy to put the answers all in one place, just in case you had the same question too.

What do I do when I arrive?

Whether or not you are a Desana user, the first thing to do on your first day at a coworking space is to report to reception and let them know who you are.

They’ll give you any details you need to know, everything from the wifi password to information about the drop-in yoga session.

Where do I sit?

You can sit anywhere you want to in the coworking area. If you’re in any doubt, just ask the community manager or person on reception.

What should I bring?

All  coworking spaces provide you with a desk, a chair, WiFi, and - if you’re cheeky - you might be able to wangle a pen.

You should remember to bring anything you need to do your job, from laptop to funky stands. Don’t forget your charger. (It’s a mistake we’ve all made before.)

What should I wear?

There’s no prescribed dress code for coworking spaces, although most people tend to adopt the hard-to-define-but-easy-to-spot “smart casual”.

Having said that, you get all sorts of fashion statements and nobody bats an eye at the business man in the suit and tie or the 1-man startup gang in ripped jeans and hoodie.

If in doubt, just stick to your company’s dress code.

Should I talk to other coworkers?

Yes! Part of the joy of coworking is interacting with people you might not otherwise meet so feel free to strike up conversations as you navigate your way around the socially distanced kitchen.

But don’t interrupt people while they are working. And if you are worried about other people interrupting you, invest in a pair of headphones - the universal signal for “leave me alone” (even if some pickup artists refuse to get the hint).

Is there coffee?

Almost all spaces provide coffee (and, in the UK, tea) free of charge. It can range from a Tetley teabag to an on-site barista and everything in between but there's a high probability of getting your caffeine fix.

How “free” is the free beer?

Some spaces offer free beer (and other beverages) for post-work relaxing. Most spaces trust their users to not drink to excess. We would advise though that you don’t take the piss (or get pissed).

Can I have a guest?

This varies from space to space and will depend on your membership type. Desana users can only have guests if they book a meeting room to work in together. If you are in any doubt, ask the community manager of the space.

Can I make calls?

Of course! In a world where zoom is now a verb, every workspace knows they’ll need to accommodate people having calls by phone or video. Some provide dedicated breakout spaces, some provide drop-in phone booths and some allow calls in the communal space.

If you are making calls in the communal space, be respectful of others and use headphones to minimise the distraction.

Can I bring my dog?

It depends on the space. If in doubt check in advance. On Desana users can filter for pet-friendly spaces where you can just rock up with your dog.

Anything else I need to know?

Most of coworking is just common sense and basic courtesy. Just be aware that you are sharing the space with others - so no shouting matches on the phone with your boss or leaving unwashed mugs around the place - and you’ll be grand.