Working in a shared workspace — either you love it or hate it. Some people thrive in the frenetic energy that a shared workspace provides. Some people, on the other hand, find it a constant source of distraction and noise. Whichever one it is, you must find a way to make it work for you. Here are five useful tips to help you survive working in a shared space.
Use noise-cancellation headphones
If you’re easily distracted by ringing phones, muted conversations, and sounds of people walking in and out of the office, you need something to turn down the noise a notch or two. Wear noise-cancelling headphones to help you focus on your task at hand. It’s also quite an effective way to stop random people from making small talk and messing up your workflow or thought process. It’s a clear and harmless way of saying you are there to work and not chit chat about non-work related matters.
When you are seated next to someone who loves socializing more than working, this can spell trouble for you. Don’t hesitate to communicate that you have a deadline looming and that as much as you’d love to hear about the great deal she found online for that trip to Tahiti, you really must get this job done as soon as possible. But always, always do this in a polite and friendly manner. You don’t want to come off as prissy or overbearing to people.
If asking nicely doesn’t work, try to inject some humor. Keep the tone light and your voice friendly. You want to keep the professional relationship alive while still being able to get your message across. You also don’t want to embarrass the person or hurt his or her feelings.
Keep your workspace clean
Keep it clean at all times. Avoid bringing food to your workspace. If you must drink coffee or your juiced veggies, make sure they are in non-spill drinking bottles or containers. Don’t turn the workplace into a pigsty.
Set a good example
Show your co-workers how one must work and conduct themselves in a shared workspace. When talking on the phone, keep your voice low and your conversations short. Don’t talk about the itty bitty details of last night’s club experience with the girlfriends or the minute details of your blind date.
Don’t gossip on the phone when you’re within earshot of everybody
Step out of the office if you know this one is going to take a while. Don’t eat at your desk and leave food crumbs that can attract ants and cockroaches. Keep everything tidy and throw out all your food trash in the bin before you leave.
Also, don’t hog the coffee machine, the fax machine, or the office printer
When you run out of A4 paper, or if the ink cartridge needs replacing, be considerate enough to report it immediately to the office manager. The next guy who uses it will thank you for it.