5 Ways to Respect Your Coworkers in Shared Office Space

Shared office spaces can be great for brainstorming sessions and collaborative projects. However, sometimes you need peace and quiet to work. As the open-concept architectural design trend spreads into the office, there are some general rules to keep in mind in order to be respectful of the individuals that you’re sharing a space with.

Here, we’ll cover the top things that you should (and shouldn’t) do in order to be courteous of your office neighbors.

  1. Wear headphones

Although it may be tempting to share your most recent Spotify playlist with your coworkers, make sure to wear headphones. Although you may really enjoy Adele’s top hits, refrain from playing them on repeat out loud. Trust us, your deskmates will thank you.

You’ll also want to remain conscious of other noises at your desk. From phone calls to online tutorials, and project planning with other coworkers, be sure to keep your noise levels to a minimum as not to disturb the others around you. If you plan on having a long conversation or loud and potentially distracting noises, relocate to a different space in the office for the duration of your meeting.

 Decorating your space

You may love your blinking holiday lights and spooky Halloween cobwebs, but try to keep your holiday decor to a minimum at the office. In general, whether it’s a holiday or not, it’s important to keep your desk clean when in a shared office space. By keeping clutter down, you’ll create a space that everyone is comfortable to work in — and you’ll likely boost your productivity too.

  1. Keep scents to a minimum

Ahh…it’s just hitting the lunch hour. You’re ready to dig into your fresh veggie sandwich when you get a whiff of John’s day-too-old tuna salad from across the room. When eating in an open space office, be aware of foods with strong odors or smells that linger. If you’re craving broccoli or salmon, simply eat your lunch outside of the office space.

Additionally, some people can be very sensitive to other scents that permeate the air, like hand sanitizer, air freshener sprays, or candles. Do your best to avoid these items in the office.

  1. Respect each other’s privacy

Open offices create a lot of shared space and not a lot of privacy. Be respectful of confidential matters and keep your eyes on your own screen. If you need to take a private call or are going to discuss sensitive matters, schedule time in a conference room or take your call away from the shared desk space. This will both respect the noise level of the office and any confidential information that may be discussed.

  1. Not everything is shared

Just because your office space is shared doesn’t mean that everything within the office is up for grabs. If you run out of staples, don’t just reach over to your neighbor’s spot and help yourself. Use only what is yours, unless you are given explicit permission to share supplies with your deskmates.

Are you interested in learning more about the workplace? Whether you’re hoping to plan an office move, upgrade your building, or learn about commercial real estate, our blog covers it all. Check out the top tips in CRE here.


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