With great gain comes a bit of sacrifice. That’s how the saying goes, right? It’s certainly been true for me. Within the next few weeks, my office will be incredibly hectic as we pack and prepare to move from one location to another. The great gain from this move? I’m getting my own office! I couldn’t be more excited about this, but there’s still a ways to go before my office will become my office, if you get what I mean. During this transition, I now have to share my current work space. See, I’m someone who likes to spread her work out, and to suddenly have a second body practically right on top of you takes a bit of adjusting. My current office space isn’t all that spacious, so to suddenly have a roommate of sorts has been trying.
When you’re sharing that close of quarters with someone, no matter how short a period of time, there are certain things and rules one needs to respect and I’ve learned about them quickly in the past few weeks.
Rule #1: Think Before You Speak.
Seems like such a simple rule, right? Think again. While your friends might get your dry sense of humor or recognize your sarcastic tone, it’s probably not a bad idea to keep these personality quirks in check while getting to know a new coworker, especially one who is within hearing range of your mid-day mutterings. It’s like going on a first date. You don’t show every weird quirk you have immediately. Warm up to them first, and then let your wild side out.
Rule #2: Be a Team Player.
Many companies are short-staffed, which means everybody, and I mean everybody, needs to take on a larger workload. Don’t push your responsibilities onto somebody else. It will only put a bigger burden on them and cause their stress levels to rise a notch or two. You want to look forward to walking into the office every day, not cringe at the memory of the pile still left on your desk from yesterday thanks to your office mate and their diligent task of trash basketball.
Rule #3: Respect a Closed Door
If a coworker has a door shut, stay out. Even if they don’t look like they’re busy at the moment, give them their space. The door is shut for a reason. Heed this rule if you also see them talking on the phone. They already have something on their mind, and you don’t want to distract them further.
Rule #4: Skip the Childish Pranks
Any joke made at your coworker’s expense probably isn’t all that funny. It’s even worse if it costs you a client. While it’s good to have a fun and inside jokes coworker, especially when they are literally over your shoulder, but don’t let it get in the way of your work or you’ll both deal with the consequences.
Rule #5: Take a Breath Before You Hit ‘Send’
You need to get a hold of someone. What do you do? I bet you head straight for your email before picking up the phone. I agree it is easier to shoot off a quick email than face the possibility of losing control in a face-to-face encounter. But be aware! Once that email is sent to a coworker (or to or from a work email account) it becomes company property. Don’t say something you may regret minutes after hitting that infamous ‘send’ button. Emails also run the risk of getting things misinterpreted. Save the drama, and walk down the hall to the person’s office, and hash it out verbally. It may prove quicker than an email, especially if the problem at hand is about who’s turn it is to wash the kitchen coffee pot.