Cafe Sessions with Steve: September Edition

Hello fellow Enterprisers and Rise regulars and welcome to Café Sessions with Me! I’m super excited to be coming at you on a monthly basis with some fun (and hopefully insightful) content! I talk to so many of you each day in the cafe getting to hear your stories about work and your social lives, it got me thinking, why not share some of my brain pickings with everyone?! Each month I will be offering my (oh so keen) advice on three topics that really gripped me from my conversations with you. Prepare to dive into workplace woes, relationship advice, delicious coffee drink how-to’s, and whatever else comes to light as a result of conversations at Rise! And don’t worry, every question will be 100% anonymous. So, without further ado, let’s get to the issues at hand:

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I’m in the member’s area trying to concentrate on my work and there’s a person being loud and distracting. How do I kindly ask him to shut up?

We love Enterprise for many reasons. It can be full of energy in some places and heads-down productivity in others. It’s that balance that makes a coworking space such a cool place to work. But with upwards of 500 people in the building, I can see how that balance could be thrown off from time-to-time!

First and foremost, Enterprise is a place to get work done and no one’s work should ever suffer from the inability to concentrate because of someone else’s chatter, music, pencil tapping or whatever. So I’ll lay out your options for you.

Are they on the phone? Hopefully not. Because we have phone booths for that! I would kindly ask them to take their calls in one of the phone booths. If they are all taken, ask them to move out into the lobby, out front on the patio, down in the kitchen, or on the rooftop. There are so many places other than the phone booths to take a call. No one should be bothering you with that.

Are they being chatty with another member? This happens. We’re social creatures, me especially. But the member’s area isn’t the place for a deep conversation on the meaning of life, your plans for the weekend, nor for even business strategy. If you’re not feeling up to asking the chatters to move to a new room, that’s what our wonderful community managers are for! Just as you would grab a CM to boot someone out for overstaying their meeting room time, they’re here to help keep the peace and quiet as well! The CMs will happily ask a chatterbox to move to a meeting room, the café, or elsewhere.

Now, for all my pacifists out there, to avoid any and all confrontation, you yourself could move. Now, don’t get all bent out of shape at me saying this. The member’s area is not meant to be 100% quiet. There’s tons of foot traffic, dogs, meetings starting and ending, etc. But we at Enterprise are privy to a place that removes all the distractions: The Library! The Library is the one designated “quiet room” in the building where you can be completely alone with your thoughts and work. It’s the best option for heads-down uninterrupted work aside from spiking everyone’s coffee with sleeping pills (please don’t do this).

My coworker tells me about his slacking off and I’m not okay with it. How do I handle this without ruining the relationship?

This one’s tough. First off, to what extent is this coworker’s slacking affecting you, the company, and the team? In my opinion, if this person’s slacking off is affecting anyone in the company, then they’re being selfish, and you should stop caring so much about that relationship. They probably aren’t long for the cause anyway. Don’t get me wrong, we all have our on-days and off-days. But if this is a continual problem, maybe its time to have a chat with this person and remind them of the damage they’re inflicting.

I would start by explaining to them how their slacking off is directly affecting you. Maybe they’re in a different department, but if they aren’t working toward the same goal of growing your business, then they are indirectly making your life more difficult. Be honest but also be understanding. Ask them if everything is okay in their personal lives. Ask them if it is something external that is affecting their work ethic. Maybe they could benefit from a little one-on-one chat. I let people vent to me all day and I like to think they leave a little more relaxed and better able to focus.

We all know there are people out there who will slack for the simple reason being that they can. If that’s the case, and being honest with them does no good, then its time to go above their heads to management. You have your career to worry about. Another person’s laziness should never be dragging you down. Some relationships are meant to fizzle. But hey! I’m sure that’s not the case. I’m sure an honest conversation is all that’s required to straighten them out.

I went out last night and now its Wednesday morning and I’m hungover, tired, and can’t focus. Help me Steve! Help Me!

You’ve come to the right place, my friend. I’m going to hit you with a few options depending on your budget, tolerance, and level of personal responsibility.

Option #1: Chug some water and drink the free drip coffee and suffer until early afternoon. It won’t be pleasant, but you’ll gradually get better over the course of the day and the caffeine will keep you awake.

Option #2: Come see me at Rise Cafe. Grab a burrito (gotta get that fat and protein in the system), a Gatorade, and a strong espresso drink. This will help you nip that hangover in the bud nice and early and hopefully save your workday. It won’t be immediate relief, but it’ll be faster than option #1. Expect a couple of mid-morning bathroom breaks to clear your system.

Option #3: I’m a little nervous to suggest this, but hey, it works for some people. Hair of the Dog. Get down to the Ratskeller and pour yourself an ice-cold beer. Keep the coffee flowing as well to keep your mind straight. Also try and get some food in your system. This option requires a great amount of responsibility so don’t get carried away! If you get caught by your boss, it wasn’t my idea!


If you have a topic or question you’d like Steve to tackle for next month, don’t hesitate to ask! Submit an anonymous question or problem here. No name or email is required.