DO NOT POST Navigating the Security of Coworking Spaces

DO NOT POST Navigating the Security of Coworking Spaces


Sharing office space comes with so many perks (multiple, convenient locations, significant cost savings over traditional office leases, flexibility in membership options). However, despite being a no-brainer choice for so many professionals, coworking does come with a few legal considerations.

Those who use coworking spaces are not employees of the office in which they’re working and more often than not don’t even know each other. That could be a recipe for trouble.

“The combination of the anonymity of users of the space, the absence of policies governing conduct, and the availability of alcoholic beverages at many locations can be a recipe for bad behavior,” write Cheryl Pinarchick and Jennifer Scully of law firm Fisher Phillips in a blog post for “That behavior often comes in the form of….harassment, but may also include theft and other unwanted behavior.”

Here, we lay out three tips for navigating shared office spaces so you can reap the rewards of coworking without undue worry about the safety and security of your possessions, data, and/or self.

Keep your data close

Given that the majority of Americans have experienced a major data breach at some point, according to the Pew Research Center, the security and safety of personal information is at risk everywhere, not just in shared office spaces. Being on shared Wi-Fi of any sort puts you at an increased risk of having your personal information compromised.

Inquire about the security of the Wi-Fi at the flexible office space where you’re considering membership. Most likely, it’s password-protected, and that’s good, but not all passwords are created equal. For the best data guarding, a password should be hard to guess and ought to change on a regular basis. Follow the same advice when it comes to your own passwords (and please don’t write any of them down and then tape them to your computer).

For further security, try a Virtual Private Network client, or VPN. “It encrypts data traveling to and from your laptop or phone, and hooks you up to a secure server—essentially making it harder for other people on the network, or whoever is operating the network, to see what you’re doing or grab your details,” according to Wired writer David Nield. Unfortunately for those on a tight budget, the good VPNs out there are generally not free. But, writes Nield, they “are well worth investing in.”

Consider gadget insurance

Considering how much you probably shelled out for your laptop, cell phone, and other gadgetry (Bose noise-canceling headphones or iPad Pro), you’d probably be pretty upset if any of them was swiped. If you’re a homeowner, your homeowner’s insurance likely covers you in the event such valuables get stolen, even if they’re stolen outside the home (the same goes for renter’s insurance). But check your policy carefully. You may find there are limits on the amount the insurance company will pay out for the theft or loss of certain items, including expensive electronics. If this is the case, consider adding a separate rider to cover your gadgets so you can breathe a bit easier when taking them out in public.

Seek security

Before deciding on a specific coworking space, you might want to ask about the surveillance on the premises. Are there security cameras? If so, what are the blind spots, if any?

Security cameras can assist in navigating conflicts between tenants, inform investigations into alleged bad behavior, and minimize security concerns for all,” Pinarchick and Scully write in the blog post.

You may also want to learn the hours of any human security presence at the building’s front entrance. Having an individual stationed in the lobby of a building is often a deterrent to crime, whether against person or property.

Looking for password-protected Wi-Fi, safe and secure premises, free coffee and other great amenities? Check out Metro Offices’ locations today.

Some other articles that might be of interest:

Shared Office Spaces: 4 Data Security Tips

5 Personal Safety Tips for Coworking Spaces

Four Amenities That Can Make Your Workspace More Comfortable




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