Co-working requires a mutual respect

The past days I have been working at the hippest co-working space in Tallinn (Estonia, Europe). If you want to be part of the Estonian start-up ecosystem, you should be at Lift99. Lift99 is not an office, it is a community of start-up entrepreneurs. It is situated in the middle of the former Russian industrial zone Teliskivi.

57338266554__0cc195f9-4949-412a-9747-0e108a8dbbd0Some weeks ago, I was received by the Lift99 hosts with a big smile and a very warm welcome. They told me, I was probably going to be adopted by the group very quickly. “If you only reach out and introduce yourself.”

57338258313__1836e2cb-a790-4212-8561-3128d4f7bbd6Now, when I am in Tallinn, I work from that place mainly. As a non-resident I know where to find my place somewhere in the open zone, among a group of silent individual workers and a dog. Riki sometimes looks up when someone new arrives, only to fall asleep again some seconds later – sigh, what a life that dog has.

Most of the time, the dog’s regular breathing and the ticking on keyboards, is the only thing you hear in that part of Lift99. Most co-workers have a headphone and concentrate on their work and their devices. One feels that there is a huge amount of mutual respect. And if there is a rare phone call, people tend to move over to a phone booth or a small meeting box, to not disturb the others.

Now yesterday, I was not so lucky. In one of the rooms next door, construction works did disturb me, and the others. The distant drilling and machine noise entered the co-working space annoyingly. Moreover, construction workers always switch on one machine before all the others – some kind of loud radio that tries to noise-outperform the other machines. And that music really annoyed all of us.


So I took my Beats ear pods, put them in my ears, switched on some music, and sigh, that was better. I still heard some of the construction works, and for some reason my own music did not play very loud that morning, so I increased my own volume a bit, pushed the fast forward button when Apple Music suggested Guns & Roses and Nirvana, and I was able to concentrate again.

After some time, one of the hosts of Lift99 passed by and said hello. So I took out my ear pods, only to discover that my own music was filling the room. “Oh, you added some music here! Maybe we should install audio here …”. I was so embarrassed that I had been playing loud music all the time, because I forgot to pair the Beats with my iPad. And since the Beats isolate a lot of the surrounding sound, they also damped my own music. Damn. I immediately apologised, and was happy that the other non-headphone-wearing co-workers smiled at me, and told me they had been enjoying the music.

Speaking about an introduction to the group …

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