Call Volume in a Coworking Space

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

How does this member interact with other people? How well does he know the people he’s bothering?

-Alex

···

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 5:31 PM, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Alex, he’s new (been here about a week) and to be perfectly honest is not integrating that well.

He’ll talk to people during breaks in the kitchen, but I don’t think he’s made a big effort to make friends or be helpful to anyone. Most of the time just talks about a new diet he’s on with his wife. He said that the reason he joined was he couldn’t be productive at home. He asked about a private office, but balked at the price.

When I mentioned to him the issue of bothering another member, he seemed more concerned about his monitor setup than inconveniencing someone.

···

On Monday, February 17, 2014 4:38:12 PM UTC-6, Alex Hillman wrote:

How does this member interact with other people? How well does he know the people he’s bothering?

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 5:31 PM, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

That’s kinda what I suspected. The phone issue is just a proxy for a bigger problem.

With that said, it’s only been a week and this stuff takes time.

People don’t care about the things they share - physical space and equipment, as well as soundspace - unless they care about the people they share them with. This is a two-way street, though. Your existing “well integrated” members don’t know him any better than he knows them.

In all cases, people who know each other have a far better chance of sharing expectations of each other, too.

So it’s your job to open that up. He might not be as “easy” as others, but I wouldn’t write him off yet either. His concern for his stuff/space is just a reaction that most people are programmed to have when they feel “threatened”. Nobody likes having things done to them, so asking him to move “because he’s disturbing others” quickly creates that sense of “why is this happening to me?”

I’d look for some sort of project/event/effort that will benefit more than just him, but something he’s interested in contributing to. Help him and other members connect through that effort, and see how things change. It might take more than one of these “facilitations” before you notice a change, but I can say from experience that I’ve seen just as many tough personalities cracked by this process than I have people who ultimately went the other way and self-selected themselves out.

-Alex

···

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 6:34 PM, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

Alex, he’s new (been here about a week) and to be perfectly honest is not integrating that well.

He’ll talk to people during breaks in the kitchen, but I don’t think he’s made a big effort to make friends or be helpful to anyone. Most of the time just talks about a new diet he’s on with his wife. He said that the reason he joined was he couldn’t be productive at home. He asked about a private office, but balked at the price.

When I mentioned to him the issue of bothering another member, he seemed more concerned about his monitor setup than inconveniencing someone.

On Monday, February 17, 2014 4:38:12 PM UTC-6, Alex Hillman wrote:

How does this member interact with other people? How well does he know the people he’s bothering?

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 5:31 PM, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

I agree w/ Alex here and applaud his insight to dig deeper into the more fundamental issue.

Oren, have you introduced this new guy to his neighbors? Has he gone to coffee w/ you and/or others? Lunch? Was there any kind of orientation?
JEROME CHANG

Mid-Wilshire
5405 Wilshire Blvd (2 blocks west of La Brea) | Los Angeles CA 90036
ph: (323) 330-9505

Downtown
529 S. Broadway, Suite 4000 (@Pershing Square) | Los Angeles CA 90013
ph: (213) 550-2235




···

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 6:34 PM, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

Alex, he’s new (been here about a week) and to be perfectly honest is not integrating that well.

He’ll talk to people during breaks in the kitchen, but I don’t think he’s made a big effort to make friends or be helpful to anyone. Most of the time just talks about a new diet he’s on with his wife. He said that the reason he joined was he couldn’t be productive at home. He asked about a private office, but balked at the price.

When I mentioned to him the issue of bothering another member, he seemed more concerned about his monitor setup than inconveniencing someone.

On Monday, February 17, 2014 4:38:12 PM UTC-6, Alex Hillman wrote:

How does this member interact with other people? How well does he know the people he’s bothering?

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 5:31 PM, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

At Betacowork we state to everyone that we are an office not a library, so calls are made and expected to be made. People self regulate quite good and only a couple are annoying mostly because of their very powerful and theatrical voicesj. The rest you barely notice.

We have the chance that our space is split in 3 rooms, so if you find somebody being really disturbing in one room you can just move to another one. Others just put on headphones (I fing it really helpful to concentrate, but I use them without any sound.) Some just take their calls to the cafeteria area or to one of the meeting rooms.

When there are complaints we explain all this again and people react quite positively.

In fact, we were more like a library when we started and that caused more problems, with complaints about the space being to quiet and hard to work at. I think that trying to be to quiet also beats the purpose of coworking and thwarts serendipity.

Whan you can do is test some white noise with a speaker. Spaces like Grind use it and it helps reduce the volume differences from silent to voice: you notice noises less. Others like Link just have music, but I personally find music with voices very distracting. I saw a TEDxBrussels presentation by the founder of https://www.focusatwill.com . It may help you if you want to use music that helps people concentrate (I have not tested it myself).

Using elements that block sound or reduce it can help too, like plants, panels, etc. Some tips:http://smallbusiness.chron.com/tips-absorbing-sound-office-32127.html

Good luck!

Ramon Suarez
Serendipity Accelerator, Betacowork
Writing: http://coworkinghandbook.com

Phone: +3227376769

Twitter:http://twitter.com/ramonsuarez

Try coworking: http://betacowork.com

···

On Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:52:52 AM UTC+1, Jerome wrote:

I agree w/ Alex here and applaud his insight to dig deeper into the more fundamental issue.
Oren, have you introduced this new guy to his neighbors? Has he gone to coffee w/ you and/or others? Lunch? Was there any kind of orientation?
JEROME CHANG

Mid-Wilshire
5405 Wilshire Blvd (2 blocks west of La Brea) | Los Angeles CA 90036
ph: (323) 330-9505

Downtown
529 S. Broadway, Suite 4000 (@Pershing Square) | Los Angeles CA 90013
ph: (213) 550-2235





On Feb 17, 2014, at 3:45 PM, Alex Hillman [email protected] wrote:

That’s kinda what I suspected. The phone issue is just a proxy for a bigger problem.

With that said, it’s only been a week and this stuff takes time.

People don’t care about the things they share - physical space and equipment, as well as soundspace - unless they care about the people they share them with. This is a two-way street, though. Your existing “well integrated” members don’t know him any better than he knows them.

In all cases, people who know each other have a far better chance of sharing expectations of each other, too.

So it’s your job to open that up. He might not be as “easy” as others, but I wouldn’t write him off yet either. His concern for his stuff/space is just a reaction that most people are programmed to have when they feel “threatened”. Nobody likes having things done to them, so asking him to move “because he’s disturbing others” quickly creates that sense of “why is this happening to me?”

I’d look for some sort of project/event/effort that will benefit more than just him, but something he’s interested in contributing to. Help him and other members connect through that effort, and see how things change. It might take more than one of these “facilitations” before you notice a change, but I can say from experience that I’ve seen just as many tough personalities cracked by this process than I have people who ultimately went the other way and self-selected themselves out.

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 6:34 PM, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

Alex, he’s new (been here about a week) and to be perfectly honest is not integrating that well.

He’ll talk to people during breaks in the kitchen, but I don’t think he’s made a big effort to make friends or be helpful to anyone. Most of the time just talks about a new diet he’s on with his wife. He said that the reason he joined was he couldn’t be productive at home. He asked about a private office, but balked at the price.

When I mentioned to him the issue of bothering another member, he seemed more concerned about his monitor setup than inconveniencing someone.

On Monday, February 17, 2014 4:38:12 PM UTC-6, Alex Hillman wrote:

How does this member interact with other people? How well does he know the people he’s bothering?

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 5:31 PM, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Hi Oren,
Sound is always the biggest issue in this kind of space! We do three things that are more physical than social (although they certainly help socially!): 1) We put in a noise cancellation system. This is a grid of speakers with a low white noise generator. Works really well. 2) We build one or two sound-insulated phone cubes. They’re big enough for a laptop, a VoIP phone and some paper. People take important, private calls in there and like the better sound quality than with a cellphone. 3) We have two cafe spaces, one with library rules. Oh, I guess there are 4: No speakerphones in cafe or workstation areas. We also have by-the-hour plans for private offices, which brings down cost for people, and they use a private office sometimes for longer calls.

Barbara

The Satellite

···

On Monday, February 17, 2014 2:31:18 PM UTC-8, [email protected] wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

Thanks Alex and Jerome for your suggestions on how to better integrate the member. Today was vastly improved and I noticed him controlling the volume of his voice better. Also a few members personally introduced themselves to him today as a way of bridging the gap. That seemed to help as well.

We don’t have a formal onboarding process, so stuff like this can really go a long way.

Thanks Ramon for your sound suggestions and I’m going to explore the white noise one a bit.

Barbara - I like the way you subdivided your space! Can you share more details on the materials you used to construct your phone booths? Thanks!

···

On Monday, February 17, 2014 4:31:18 PM UTC-6, [email protected] wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

Oren, we actually build in phone cubes during the construction phase of a site. They’re about 4’ x 5’, 2x6 top and bottom plate with 2x4 staggered studs for better sound insulation. Then they’re insulated and sheetrocked. We put something soft on the walls for absorption, and the light/ventilator in the ceiling provides enough background sound. The door has insulated glass, there’s a window, and a 12 - 14" shelf across for phone and laptop. We put in a tall stool.

Barbara Sprenger

Satellite Telework Centers, Inc.
6265 Hwy. 9 * Felton, CA * 95018
[email protected] * www.thesatelliteinc.com
phone: 831222-2100 * cell: 831 345-6529

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

···

On Feb 18, 2014, at 3:55 PM, [email protected] wrote:

Thanks Alex and Jerome for your suggestions on how to better integrate the member. Today was vastly improved and I noticed him controlling the volume of his voice better. Also a few members personally introduced themselves to him today as a way of bridging the gap. That seemed to help as well.

We don’t have a formal onboarding process, so stuff like this can really go a long way.

Thanks Ramon for your sound suggestions and I’m going to explore the white noise one a bit.

Barbara - I like the way you subdivided your space! Can you share more details on the materials you used to construct your phone booths? Thanks!

On Monday, February 17, 2014 4:31:18 PM UTC-6, [email protected] wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to a topic in the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this topic, visit https://groups.google.com/d/topic/coworking/SNVZkjGqHX4/unsubscribe.

To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Also, please keep in mind that the key to reducing sound leakage is eliminating all cracks and openings. You could have a very thick door, but if the edges around the door isn’t sealed, you might as well have a thin door. Sound is just persistent like that.

JEROME CHANG

Mid-Wilshire
5405 Wilshire Blvd (2 blocks west of La Brea) | Los Angeles CA 90036
ph: (323) 330-9505

Downtown
529 S. Broadway, Suite 4000 (@Pershing Square) | Los Angeles CA 90013
ph: (213) 550-2235




···

On Feb 18, 2014, at 4:03 PM, Barbara Sprenger [email protected] wrote:

Oren, we actually build in phone cubes during the construction phase of a site. They’re about 4’ x 5’, 2x6 top and bottom plate with 2x4 staggered studs for better sound insulation. Then they’re insulated and sheetrocked. We put something soft on the walls for absorption, and the light/ventilator in the ceiling provides enough background sound. The door has insulated glass, there’s a window, and a 12 - 14" shelf across for phone and laptop. We put in a tall stool.

Barbara Sprenger

Satellite Telework Centers, Inc.
6265 Hwy. 9 * Felton, CA * 95018
[email protected] * www.thesatelliteinc.com
phone: 831222-2100 * cell: 831 345-6529

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

<Untitled1.png>

On Feb 18, 2014, at 3:55 PM, [email protected] wrote:

Thanks Alex and Jerome for your suggestions on how to better integrate the member. Today was vastly improved and I noticed him controlling the volume of his voice better. Also a few members personally introduced themselves to him today as a way of bridging the gap. That seemed to help as well.

We don’t have a formal onboarding process, so stuff like this can really go a long way.

Thanks Ramon for your sound suggestions and I’m going to explore the white noise one a bit.

Barbara - I like the way you subdivided your space! Can you share more details on the materials you used to construct your phone booths? Thanks!

On Monday, February 17, 2014 4:31:18 PM UTC-6, Oren.S…@gmail.com wrote:

Hi there everyone,

I know this is a topic that’s come up again and again and been handled many different ways, but I’m curious how to handle this socially moreso than from any other dimension.

Members have to take phone calls. This is a fact of life. Most people just find a quiet corner or take up the conference room for a call whenever they need. This was a pretty self-regulating problem.

Until recently when a member signed up that seems to be on the phone all day long in the main coworking area. Other members are complaining specifically about this one member because he’s ruining their ability to focus. He refuses to take up in one of the side rooms or corners because they don’t have a table big enough to fit his computer and monitor and he doesn’t seem too keen on moving his stuff around either.

I’ve never asked a member to leave the community and I’d hate to do it because of a workstyle issue, but I don’t see a way around this.

Any ideas?


Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com

You received this message because you are subscribed to a topic in the Google Groups “Coworking” group.
To unsubscribe from this topic, visit https://groups.google.com/d/topic/coworking/SNVZkjGqHX4/unsubscribe.
To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to [email protected].
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.


Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.