4 Rules of Sharing Office Space

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a tower far far away from the quibbles of men, you’re going to have to share space. Specifically, you’re going to have to share your workspace. The one that you sit in, eight hours a day five  days a week, sometimes more. The one that, when you do the math, you spend more waking hours in than the space you pay the mortgage on each month.

If you’re going to share office space, you’d better be acquainted with the rules. Otherwise, it could all blow up in your face. And a hostile work environment isn’t something anybody wants. Ever.

With that in mind:

Rule #1: Keep the distractions to a minimum. There’s nothing wrong with swinging by a co-worker’s desk to say hey, shoot the breeze for a few minutes, etc. In fact, in a lot of offices it’s practically morning protocol if you don’t want to be the anti-social jerk that doesn’t get invited for drinks after-hours. Ever. Just because you’re free doesn’t mean everyone else is, however. Keep the distractions to a minimum.

Rule #2: Leave the stinky cheese at home. It used to drive me nuts when people would make popcorn, because the entire office would smell like those sweet little buttery kernels all…day…long. And popcorn actually smells good! If the scent of your lunch is going to waft off of your desk and hang around, it’s time to start re-thinking your dietary choices. At least while you’re at work.

Rule #3: A wise man doesn’t tell all he knows or sees. One of the major complaints people have about sharing office space is the fact that personal space and privacy go flying out the window. When you share a small space you’re going to be privy to personal squabbles, work related troubles and any and all manner of disturbing sights and sounds. Unless it’s something that absolutely has to be relayed (for example, a co-worker stealing company property) it’s best to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear until they come to you.

Rule #4: Music is good. Music no one can hear but you is better. Unless you have an office mate who enjoys working to your style of music, there’s a good chance it’s just another distraction-and we already talked about those. Pick up a good pair of headphones and you might be able to keep the peace.

What are your best tips for sharing office space?