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March 10, 2009

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Sharing space with your co-workers can be difficult. You may be sharing an office with officemates, or sitting in a cubicle inches away from your neighbors. Here are some tips on making the close quarters work for you:
  • Keep your space neat. Not only will you avoid spilling over into other people's space, it also will make it easier for people to find files off your desk without having to ransack the place.
  • Make your space cozy with plants, pictures and other personal items.
  • If you eat food at your desk, throw away the garbage in the kitchen so you don't subject co-workers in your area to the smell of leftovers all day.
  • Keep your voice down when talking on the phone. It maintains your privacy and spares your neighbors the disruption.
  • Do not comment on other people's conversations or laugh at other people's jokes when they are talking on the phone with other people, even if it is impossible not to overhear. Cubicle protocol is to pretend you don't hear each other.
  • Listen to music at a low volume or with headphones. It will keep you from getting distracted by the noise around you.
  • If you have to make an important phone call or conduct an important meeting, use a conference room or unused office so you are not distracted.
  • Keep confidential work materials confidential. Be careful about what documents you leave up on your computer screen or sitting on your desk, printer or fax machine, especially a resume! Also, be careful about working on personal documents on a shared network drive.
  • Do not keep anything of personal value out in the open. Your co-workers may be honest, but you probably dont realize how many outside people traipse through your office when you are not around (e.g., visitors, messengers, janitors).
  • Do not take things from other people or open any of their drawers or files without permission. If you need to borrow a file or a stapler from a co-worker, ask their permission first. If they are not around, leave them a post-it note on their chair, desk or computer screen to let them know what you borrowed. Either way, return the item as soon as possible.

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Filed Under: Workplace Issues
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