In today’s world of office spaces and massive collections of people working closely together, shared space is somewhat of a given when taking such a job. While in some instances it works out perfectly, sharing office space does not always work out well.
Sharing a space with someone, whether it’s a cubicle or office, involves responsibility and respect from all parties. There is a chance that some things about your office mate will be offensive to you, cause disruption, or simply annoy you! So, when you must share your work space with a coworker, we suggest following these rules to encourage a great working relationship without going overboard.
In many cases, supplies are shared between coworkers that share an office or a cubicle. In other cases, however, supplies are personal belongings. If you share supplies, always make sure they are kept in the correct spot – if you don’t have a place for everything, talk to your cubicle companion about bringing something in. Organization can go a long way into keeping a relationship civil.
If items aren’t shared, there should be no reason that you use each other’s belongings. However, a time may come when your stapler jams or you run out of pens (hey, it happens all the time). If you must use your coworkers supplies, do so only with asking and with putting it back where it goes.
Always ask your coworker if scented candles, potpourri, flowers or other strongly scented items are okay. Some people are sensitive to perfumes and fragrances, not to mention allergic!
Another form of respect is watching your volume and your language. Many people have a hard time concentrating when a coworker in the same space is much louder than they are. Personal conversations on your phone should be kept to an absolute minimum within the shared space, and offensive language should never be used.
If you and the person you share the space with are not working well together, it’s time for some mediation. Talk to your coworker to see if there is an arrangement that can be made between the two of you when the space is shared. If it is one-sided, remain professional when speaking with your manager or supervisor as to not offend the coworker. Unfortunately, small problems can escalate quickly when you’re in close quarters with someone for 4 to 8 hours a day. Your manager should be your mediator in times of conflict.
Sharing office or cubicle space is much like having a roommate that you didn’t choose. In order to remain successful, general respect is the key to forging a professional relationship with someone you spend most of your waking hours with.