Office Sharing Etiquette: 5 Rules to Follow

Sharing an office with other like-minded freelance workers and professionals offers several key benefits. You’ll save money on rent/utilities, enjoy the social aspects of working around others, and it can even yield new business opportunities.

According to the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, there was only a single coworking space in 2005. Fast forward to 2013, and this number has since snowballed into more than 3,000 worldwide — a trend that’s likely to continue as more and more people become self-employed. But if you plan on sharing an office, there are a few things you should know regarding etiquette.

Be Quiet

Don’t be “that guy” in a shared office — you know, the one who blasts their computer speakers or brings a stereo to work. Rather, you should keep be as quiet as possible so you aren’t distracting other workers in the office. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be silent the entire time, but you should respect those around you.

Don’t Take Others Workers’ Food from the Fridge

That leftover deli sandwich in the office refrigerator may seem tempting, but don’t take it unless it’s yours. Stealing other workers’ food is a big no-no, and it’s a sure-fire way to make enemies instead of friends in a shared office.

Oh, and if you’re dealing with an office fridge thief in your shared office, check out our previous blog post here on how to deal with him or her.

Respect Workers’ Privacy

Another unwritten rule of office sharing etiquette is to respect other workers’ privacy. In other words, don’t snoop through someone’s papers when they aren’t looking, and don’t peek over at their computer monitor. Sharing an office offers several benefits over renting your own office, but the lack of privacy may discourage some people from choosing this route. Regardless, you should give other workers’ their space and their privacy.

Keep it Clean

Even if you aren’t necessarily a clean and tidy person, you should pick up the trash in a shared office. No one wants to look at a messy desk, so be mindful of other workers.

Lock Up When You Leave

You wouldn’t leave your house without locking the door behind you, so don’t do it at your shared office. If you’re the last person to leave the office, lock the door behind you. Most shared offices have at least some security measures (e.g. video surveillance and/or patrols), but it’s still proper etiquette to lock the door when you leave.