Let’s face it if you aren’t blessed with a door and four walls in your office building it can leave you feeling exposed. A shared workspace can be challenging to navigate especially if you work in a fast-paced environment where everyone is constantly on the go. Being in a space for forty hours weekly means that you are sharing everything with your coworkers – conversations, meals and even the common cold. Here are some tips that will help you get through what can at times be, too close for comfort quarters.

Tip # 1 – Keep your workspace neat and tidy.

Yes we know, you know, where everything is and everything is in its place but what happens when you are out sick or if someone has to find something urgently in your space? Think about the esthetics of the office and how unnecessary clutter can create an inaccurate first impression of you. Is she disorganized? Can she execute my job efficiently? Can she find my documents or anything for that matter in that mess? Put aside sometime weekly to get rid of or dedicate some time to the other dreaded F word -filing, unnecessary papers on your desk. Paper accumulation can trap dust mites and other allergens in your workspace. If you’ve been too busy and have accumulated a mountain of paper please be sure and put on a pair of gloves to avoid paper cuts and touching whatever little critter waste may have been deposited on your desk way back in January. Also always keep disinfectant spray and or wipes in your draw along with hand sanitizer. These always come in handy when you accidently bump your morning coffee or when office Betty decides to use your phone while she’s coughing up a lung to place her lunch order for the day.

Tip # 2 – Only paper should go in your office bin

Yes I know you snack all day at your desk and the kitchen seems so far away but please – do not dispose of food in your waste paper bin especially if it isn’t a swing covered bin. First of all, the entire office doesn’t need the lingering smell of your Sunday lunch haunting them for the day. Secondly that apple core may be missed by a less than enthusiastic office cleaner or thirdly the cleaner may not make it in that day.I’m sure there is no need to tell you what happens in a hot office overnight with decaying food and the pleasantries that will greet the early birds the next day. I’m sure HR will be having a chat with you about it and well we wouldn’t want that.


Tip # 3 –Invest in a good pair of headphones

You absolutely need to invest in a pair of noise reduction headphones. Thank me later. When you need to buckle down and just get work done these are truly a must have. They even come in handy when you simply don’t want to be disturbed or distracted by office shenanigans. Headphones help to keep the office gossip away; you won’t be called by management as a witness to any office drama and they’ll keep you in your happy place because you’ll be all Zen from listening to whatever makes you happy. One warning though If your singing is no better than two cats in heat going at it please don’t listen to music that you may unconsciously start singing aloud to.

Tip # 4 – Mind your manners

This really should be a no brainer but as we know not everyone’s garden has a fertile common sense plant. Please wash your dirty dishes thoroughly. No, they should not be left at your desk until the end of the day either. Afterall no one wants to pick up a spoon to find your overnight soaked oats caked on to it when going to make their 3pm cup of tea. Used the last sheet of paper? Please refill the dispenser and yes that goes for copy paper, bathroom tissue or kitchen towels. Funked up the bathroom? Oh gosh use the mist dispenser so the person after you doesn’t have to declare it ground zero. These little acts if kindness go a long way towards fostering a happy work environment and would avoid management having to send out uncomfortable emails about expected workplace hygiene and etiquette to adults.

Tip # 5 – Leave the officea few times daily for some fresh air

Fresh air has long been touted as something that’s able to cure whatever ails you. And it’s true. If you make it a point to leave the office a couple times per day, that can go a long way towards defusing that pressure cooker that maybe ready to explode inside of you. Not to be Debbie Downer but you do have to go back. Taking a short break from your co-workers helps to break up the monotony of the day and gets your creative juices flowing once again. It is important to take time to refocus and reenter yourself in whatever small ways you can. It will help to improve your overall mood and interaction with others. Afterall who wants to dwell in negativity for eight or more hours each day.

I hope these tips help to keep you a little more sane and healthy while at your second home.