Shared Space: Avoiding Conflict & Seeking Harmony

Download PDF

Most employees spend at least a portion of their day working within shared space. Having coworkers nearby can create a sense of teamwork and camaraderie, but it also has a tendency to magnify minor irritants and disagreements. At its worst, operating in close quarters can create an environment in which petty conflict escalates to all-out interoffice warfare.

Maintaining a friendly and respectful environment requires a heightened self-awareness of the effect your actions have on others. Take a moment to study these tips and ask yourself how you can make your shared work space as pleasant as possible.

Properly Dispose Of Foods With Strong Odors

Never toss the remainder of your lunch in an office wastebasket. Food can foul a room after sitting a few hours at room temperature. Put your refuse in a cafeteria trash can or an outdoor dumpster instead.

Freshen Your Breath After Eating Strong Food

Working in tight confines can make unpleasant odors especially tough to bear. Most of your coworkers won’t be comfortable telling you that your breath is offensive, so it’s important to be proactive. Keep a small toothbrush and a package of breath mints in your desk and use them after every meal or cup of coffee.

Be Aware Of Your Phone Conversations

You may be unwittingly causing distraction. It’s sometimes difficult to monitor the volume of your voice relative to your environment when talking on the phone, so make phone calls in a private area whenever possible. Avoid talking loudly about personal matters. It can be uncomfortable for coworkers to overhear and difficult to tune out.

Keep A Clean Work Area

A sloppy desk can be an unbearable eyesore, particularly for the more compulsive types at your office. Spend a few minutes tidying up at the end of the day, and wipe down exposed surfaces with a sanitizing product to prevent the spread of germs.

Pitch In On Cleaning Community Areas

Brew more coffee when the pot is low, clean the microwave in the cafeteria or shared kitchen area, and refill the copier daily. Performing these small courtesies is a way of showing respect and good manners toward your coworkers.

Maintaining a friendly and respectful environment requires a heightened self-awareness of the effect your actions have on others.

Keep Music Volume To A Minimum

Better yet, wear a headset. Musical tastes tend to be widely divergent and often unexplainable. One man’s masterpiece “stress-buster mix” may be another’s source of irritation. It’s not your role to educate coworkers on the finer nuances of musical appreciation.

Leave The Thermostat Alone

Thermostat wars create unnecessary hostility. Ask your supervisor to maintain a consistent temperature and dress accordingly. Accept that not every person will be completely satisfied, you included.

Be Aware Of The Stress Levels Of Others

Few jobs distribute workflow evenly. Some days are busier than others. While one of your slower days might allow for a bit of afternoon playfulness, keep in mind that the person next to you may be swamped with work. Look before you act, and avoid goofing off in a loud, boisterous manner if you suspect someone nearby is having a tough day. Otherwise, your attempt to lighten the mood may unknowingly create hostility.

Getting along with coworkers is a lot like dealing with family. There are bound to be occasional squabbles; flare-ups; coworkers who remind you of crazy, pain-in-the-rear relatives. You don’t always have to love each other… but you do have to find a way to get along.

Experience how PAS can help you navigate through all of life's twists & turns
Show Me