Survive Sharing an Office Space

Stuck splitting an office space with a coworker? Or two? Maybe three? While some of us enjoy the company, others may find it bothersome. Here's your survival guide to make sharing easy and less stressful.


  1. Be positive about your situation. If you're dreading the idea of sharing, don't let your negativity show! Regardless of how you might feel, you should keep an open mind and be optimistic. Someone somewhere once said, "You can't live a positive life with a negative attitude."
    • Lower or completely get rid of any expectations you might have.
  2. Try your best to get to know you're coworker(s). The more comfortable you are with your coworker(s), the more comfortable you'll be sharing a space with them.
    • Get to work earlier than you usually would. You'll feel less stressed and more relaxed. You'll have a chance to gather your thoughts and prepare for the day. Your mood can not only affect your own work, but the work of everyone you interact with.
    • If it's your first time working with each other, introduce yourself first. If you're nervous, chances are that your coworker is too.
    • Find some common ground. Nothing breaks the ice like finding something in common to talk about like a TV show, sports team, or past time.Personalize your desk with your favorite memorabilia. It's an easy conversation starter and invites others to strike up a quick conversation with you.
    • Ask about his/her weekend. You don't need all the details and you don't have to be best friends, but it's just a friendly gesture to build rapport with your coworker.
  3. Personalize your share of the space. Even though you're not getting your own space, it doesn't mean that you can't make a little piece of it yours.
    • Display photos of your friends and family around your desk. Nothing can boost your mood like your fondest memories!
    • Skip the standard stationery and writing tools! Get the tools you need to get the job done, but have them reflect your personality.
  4. Keep your area modest, and organized. Remember to be respectful of your office mates. Anything too large or flashy can not only be distracting for you, but for others too.
    • Tidy up your desk after you eat, and at the end of each day. Not only does this get you ready for the next day's work, but it shows your coworker(s) that you care. It might even serve as an example for a not-so-clean office mate.
  5. Set boundaries if you need them. It's important that everyone in the office gets along, but also essential that you and your coworkers communicate. The better everyone communicates, the less likely it is that there will be disputes or confrontations.
    • Some boundaries don't need to be spoken about. Many things, such as asking permission to use a coworker's stapler or other belongings, are common sense. Unless you and your coworker(s) have discussed otherwise, remember to be respectful at all times!
  6. Avoid drama. It will have a negative effect on everyone and their work.
    • Don't gossip with other coworkers, even if you just need to vent and let off some steam.
    • If you need to express any concerns, do so directly with that person. Remember to keep a professional tone.
    • If someone expresses any concerns with you, be receptive and professional.
    • Look at the situation from both sides and try to be as understanding as possible.
    • Sometimes people can be difficult. If any situation escalates, bring it up with a supervisor.
  7. Have a pair of headphones at your desk. Without a space of your own, you can be easily distracted by what's going on around you. This is especially difficult in open office spaces, or smaller offices filled with many people. Headphones let you listen to the music you want to without disrupting anybody else, or your work. They also act as a sign to others that you're busy and that it might not be the best time to bug you about last night's episode of The Big Bang Theory.