The Do’s & Do nots of Shared Work Space

For many startups, small businesses and freelancers, shared work space is a reality to be faced on a daily basis. It can be challenging enough having to work in an open plan office environment with colleagues, but when a range of individuals converge to the same place to carry out their own, and at times very different, endeavours, there is bound to be conflict of some kind.

In order to minimize these problems, there are some rules and guidelines to follow and adhere to in order to the get most of your work environment and to ensure that your shared work space turns into a productive hub for you and your business.


  • Follow office rules
    Although there may not always be a detailed list of rules for shared work spaces, it is advisable to follow and respect certain unspoken rules common to most working environments. During the first few days, it is best to familiarize yourself with the general office rules and stick by them, no matter how basic or conventional them may seem. This will ensure a good first impression and a productive permanence in your new work space.
  • Be social and learn to rely on others
    Though it may not always be possible, or may even seem unnecessary, interacting with those working around you, even though in essence they may be complete strangers to you, brings its rewards. Building and nurturing a comfortable work environment is crucial to your productivity, and having the ability to build connections with those around you plays a big role and ensuring that you go to work each day with a positive mindset. When the time comes, these connections may help you in more ways than you can imagine.
  • Confirm desk availability and claim a place as your own
    This will depend you the work space facility you use, but where possible, in spaces where a place is not assigned to you, confirm the availability of your desk beforehand, making sure that it is not rented to somebody else. A little more difficult will be claiming that place as your own as time goes on. Should you need to use that space for a prolonged period of time, settle into the space where you feel you can get the most done, surrounded by people who you know won’t interfere with your work, and return to it every day, in such a way that others know not to occupy it.
shared work space


  • Disturb others
    This may be the most intuitive, yet the most fundamental aspect of sharing work space. Nobody wants to go into work every day knowing that their place of workday will be bombarded with distractions and nuisance throughout. This can occur in a variety of ways: noise, smell, incessant talking. Always keep in mind that people are there to work, and excessive noise will be disturbing to some, if not all. Invest in a good set of earphones to listen to your music, enjoy your meals in the common areas and, where possible, keep private conversations away from the work space.
  • Invade privacy
    Whilst communicating, and at times socializing, with those you are sharing a work space with is advisable and can help to construct a good working environment, going too far and invading others’ business privacy must be avoided. Others may be working on confidential or delicate matters, and avoiding trespassing their privacy is mere professional courtesy.
  • Forget that the work space is shared, and not yours alone
    Treating others’ work with respect, and remembering that their work space is just as important to them as it is to you, is essential. Treating your shared work space as though it was yours and yours alone must be avoided. This goes beyond simply avoiding disturbing others and keeping your work station tidy, but maintaining your professional decorum at all times.