Different personalities. Varied and odd habits. Ebbing and waning noise levels. These all are part of belonging to a shared office environment. There is bound to be some conflict somewhere along the line.
How can you best deal with conflict in a shared office environment?
Create and Communicate Clear Boundaries
Most times, others don’t know what your boundaries are, and it may be that their own boundaries are pretty wide. If you have a small perimeter circle in terms of your space and your willingness to share, make it super clear from the onset.
While you may come across as pedantic and slightly eccentric, at least they will know and you can avoid conflict in that arena.
Be sure to make it a light-hearted communication yet clear that you are serious about your boundaries. From your physical body space to your desk space and even moving on to your food in the shared refrigerator and your fave coffee mug.
The Bureaux, depending on which branch you’re at, has options on making your space your own. Be sure to ask how this can be made possible.
Deal with conflict as it arises instead of burying it
No matter how small the issue, deal with it straight away. If you find Joe has belittled you again in front of a client who walked in for an impromptu meeting, take Joe to one side later and speak about it. Co-working space often means that conversations and meetups happen within the mix of everyone’s working area. This can lead to eavesdropping and of course if there is any form of jealousy lingering, other co-workers can use it against you.
Keep your conversations private as best you can
This leads us to our next tip.
If there are others that do what you do in the same small space, it can become rife with competitiveness, and while you may do your best to keep your biz to yourself, some folk just have a knack for finding out the dope.
If you need to have a convo that you feel shouldn’t be privy to everyone, take it outside or in a closed meeting room. Keep your computer screen on lock so that when you move away it can’t be glanced at or accessed in any way. It may seem like a very suspicious way to go about working in a shared office environment, but you can never be too careful. Everyone is there to make it on their own and sometimes when times are tough, people get desperate.
The Bureaux prides itself on not having any real conflict issues thus far, but you never know, so just be vigilant with your private matters.
Get an objective opinion
If you find that the conflict has escalated to a point that its affecting your work and/or personal life at the shared office space, then consider bringing in an objective opinion. This may be in the form of another co-worker that isn’t biased to either one of you. They can often look at the problem and empathetically assist with a solution.
If that doesn’t work or there is no one to be that third party, then go to management and look at moving your shared desk or office space.
When noise becomes just too much
If you have come from a home office, where you were alone most of the day with just the sound of the clock ticking or some soft tunes in the background, then a shared office environment may seem like you’re at a heavy metal concert.
The level of noise ebbs and wanes as the day progresses, with the quietest times being the early morning and late evening period, as we have experienced at The Bureaux branches. To eliminate the noise, either consider a set of block out earphones with or without music (your preference), find a quieter shared office space or consider your own private office.
Co-habitat with like-minded co-workers
We have found at The Bureaux that very often our co-workers, especially in the open-plan shared offices, gravitate towards those with similar mindsets or styles. There is a great exercise that clinical psychologists perform, which splits people up into bird types. It has a lot to do with personality and even more to do with work style.
The Doves are the quiet ones, keeping to themselves, and avoiding conflict at all costs.
The Peacocks like to get all social and are generally the loud guys.
The Owls are quite studious and orderly.
And, the Eagles are often bossy but able to get projects going.
Work out which one you are and look for those that fit that bill too. If at all possible, move your co-working desk or office nearer to those folk. While all styles are required, especially in a team environment, it can be easier to get along and get work done if you’re nearer your own kin, as it were.
Values play a big role in helping people get on and while we, at The Bureaux don’t insist that our shared office and co-working applicants take a phycology test, we do encourage folk to find their comfy space and their comfy co-workers soon into their moving in.
We want all our tenants to be happy and conformable and are always open to assisting where we can to make that happen.
Get in touch if you’re looking for a shared office, co-working or independent office rental. We have three fine locations for you to choose from.