Team rooms are a bad idea in coworking spaces

I work in one of Melbourne’s finest co-working spaces. I chose this space after trying out two other spaces, and decided that for what I need right now it was the closest fit. One of the features of this space that I initially thought was a plus point was that in addition to the big open coworking space, there are a number of “team rooms”, for small companies to occupy in relative isolation. This sounded sensible at the time: teams often need to chat amongst themselves, and a private room will insulate everyone else from the noise. However, that’s not actually how it has worked out.

These “team rooms” have floor to ceiling glass walls into the general coworking space, and lockable doors. What they don’t have, is sound-proofing. Unfortunately, often the inhabitants of these “team rooms” seem oblivious to this fact and decide to play music or have loud Skype sessions, or loud discussions amongst themselves. Sometimes for extra effect they decide “fuck it” and leave their doors open so that everyone in the coworking area can enjoy the rock and roll concert that is their business.

Then there’s the flipside problem; sometimes team members are so considerate of their team mates, that they take loud conversations into the coworking area. This co-working space does have meeting rooms available for free booking, but on several occasions workers who occupy team rooms have simply used the coworking area as their “meeting room”. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting to learn that you’re charging your customer AUD15k for a training programme that you admit you actually know very little about, but I might have been trying to concentrate on my own work instead.

The tragedy of the commons is all the more tragic if some people are more reliant on the commons than others, while those who are less reliant on it still have access to it. Think of the farmer who needs water from the stream to grow his crop, vs the industrialist who just needs the stream to take away his waste.

Therefore, I think team rooms are a bad idea. Everyone should occupy the same space, so that everyone is aware of what life is like for everyone else. No team rooms = no abusing the coworking space, because the coworking space is your space.

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