Sharing Space: How to Effectively Share Space With a Coworker

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.

Supplies

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.

General Respect

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.

Mediation

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.

 

How to Keep Your Employees

Providing a stable paycheck and employment isn’t enough to keep all your people around. Here are some things you can do to ensure that your people stay happy and stay put!

Quality of life. Many of today’s employees want freedom and flexibility. That could mean flex hours, to flex time off, to working from home. Quality of life is important to all generations, but even more important to the youngest generation in the work force. They want to work hard, but they also want to live and play hard as well.  Building in freedom and flexibility to the work culture will contribute to the happiness of your employees.

Advancement Opportunities. You may loose some of your team members because they feel they don’t have the opportunity to grow and advance within the company. Even if you don’t have a position available, they are ways to show that you are honoring and acknowledging their leadership potential. You can do this by rotating who leads a project or assignment, allowing people to sit in on management meetings, or ensure their voice is heard in the creation of a new process or idea.

Recognition. Most people report the need and desire to be recognized by their peers. This goes a long way in keeping people happy. What can you do to recognize team players for their skills and strengths they are bringing to the company? Public acknowledgement is great, but even just pulling a person aside to let them know what a great job they are doing will take you far.

Fun. Work is… well, hard and sometimes stressful. What if you could make your environment a little more fun? What types of thing would your employees appreciate? An ice cream cart on Friday’s, fun music in the break room, a ping pong table in the lobby? Giving people a chance to unwind at work will create a culture that will make it hard for people to walk away.

What other ideas do you have for retaining your employees? We’d love to know. Please share those below.

Identifying Destructive Workplace Habits in Your Office

Office places are filled with various personalities, learning styles, and personal agendas. Conflict can creep in, disagreements can take place, and negativity can abound. The office place is an interesting dynamic, it’s one that can promote collaboration, friendships, and innovation. At the same time, an office can have the opposite energy as well – separation, entitlement, and resentment. The key to creating an office environment that is aligned with the former, is to identify and stop any destructive habits in the office as soon as they start.

It starts when one employee becomes unhappy. This could be for any reason. They could have been passed over for a promotion, were unhappy with their annual review or their raise, or they simply don’t enjoy the job they are doing. The problem is that when a person becomes unhappy in the workplace, their negativity can easily go viral. A negative energy can quickly consume other people’s positivity. It starts by taking down one person, then another, and another. Before you know it, half of your team or staff has now embraced the negative mindset of this one person. The question is this, how do you identify that person so you can put a stop to it, before they take over?

Here are a few of the signs of a destructive team member.

If you notice someone…

  • Putting down every idea that is brought up in meetings and never adds value or offers another way of thinking.
  • Is anti-social and isn’t well-liked among a friendly staff.
  • Who promises everything you want to hear, but rarely, if ever, delivers.
  • Who thinks very highly of their position and their work, yet doesn’t produce results.
  • That is constantly micro-managing others.
  • Who is constantly blaming others for their behavior.
  • That is passive-aggressive.

Your team has likely been affected when you notice someone…

  • Is now being negative who was a happy, productive employee before.
  • Not participating in meetings as usual.
  • Is feeling entitled, short-changed, and disappointed by what the company has/has not done for them.

Destructive workplace habits are critical to your team’s success. Stopping these destructive behaviors as soon as they are noticed is the best way to keep your team happy. Once you notice the energy shifting, come from a place of curiosity and approach your unhappy team member to get to the root of the issue. They’ll likely tell you what you want to hear at first, so dig deeper and go down a few levels to get to the truth of what’s happening.

Once you identify the core issue, make a decision that’s best for the company. In the long run you’ll be happy that you did, even if it’s uncomfortable at the time.

How to Deal with a Challenging Co-Worker

How you handle yourself with a difficult or challenging co-worker can speak volumes about you to management and your peers. While there’s no need to be a “push-over” – handling someone with tact is bound to get you more respect in the workplace.

Here are a few things you can do to always come out as the better person.

1. Stop taking things personally. We all face challenging and difficult people at different times in our lives, whether on the job and even at home. Don’t let these encounters feel like a personal attack, in which you need to be defensive to win. Instead, realize that the person is likely experiencing their own set of challenges and is expressing them at everyone in their life. When you stop taking things personally, you can detach from their behavior.

2. Recognize different personality styles. Not all people are the same, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. The more aware you are of what makes people tick, what pushes their buttons, and how they interact with others, the more likely you are to engage with them in a productive way. For example, if you find that someone is highly defensive when they receive feedback, be sure to sing them extra praises when they do something right. This will help to break down their barriers.

3. Don’t speak or react out of anger. Anger can get you into trouble, it makes you say things you don’t mean, react without being logical or sensical, and isn’t an emotion to express haphazardly. It’s not to say you can’t get angry, just don’t react while angry. Take a moment to walk, take a breath, get outside – don’t vent to co-workers or throw fuel on the fire. Instead, remember a mantra such as, “This too will pass.” Or turn on some tunes that can help shift your energy. When you deal with people while you are angry, it’s likely you’ll regret how you handled the situation.

A challenging co-worker can cause a lot of issues at work, if you let them. Instead, rethink how you handle the people that push your buttons, after all, when you are upset with another person, it is you who is most affected by someone at the end of the day.

Get Heard in the Workplace – How to Share Your Thoughts and Ideas

Communication in the workplace can be challenging at times, but speaking up and getting heard is an essential part of staying happy and satisfied in the workplace.

How can you get heard in the workplace? Here are three tips for increasing the effectiveness of your communication!

  1. Become solution oriented. Managers are always approached with complaints and problems, yet few employees actually consider presenting solutions. They expect their managers to figure out the problem for them. Presenting a problem with a solution will make your managers ears perk up. The next time you see a problem, think about how it can be solved before you reach out to your higher up.
  2. Be clear and focused when delivering information. Most managers only need to know the basics, yet some people feel compelled to fill them in on all the details. To make the most out of your time with your manager, always provide the most essential, relevant, and critical details. Leave out the “he said, she said’s” and present the facts only.
  3. Be conscious of the time you are choosing to speak to your boss/manager. Talking to them as they walk down the hallway or at the water cooler, is likely to yield less results. Instead, schedule a 10-15 minute time slot with them, and let them know in advance what you’d like to discuss.

Remember, it’s always about bringing value to your employer, being clear and focused with your communications, and leaving any drama out of it

What are your tips on getting heard in the workplace? Share your experiences with us; we’d love to hear them.