8 Shared Workspace Rules for Telecommuting Employees

Telecommuters, remote workers and even digital nomads need to check into a physical office at some point, typically landing in a shared workspace with a hoteling or hot desk arrangement. 

In some cases that might be company headquarters or a field office. In others, it might be an office or meeting room sourced through DaVinci Virtual Offices 

Approaching the work environment with a respectful and considerate attitude and following established office mores and etiquette will make the hoteling experience more pleasant for everyone. Here are eight simple guidelines. 

1. Get the lay of the land. 

Honor your reservation and confirm you are at the workspace you reserved at the time requested. Besides your physical workspace, make sure you get an overview of any community areas and meeting spaces and their respective guidelines, such as whether they allow food, phone calls or require reservations. Check on kitchen policies and expectations for used dishes, trash and recyclables.  

2. Use spaces and amenities for their intended purpose.

Make sure you use technology connections as intended (e.g. don’t stretch an extension cord across a pathway). Use designated storage (coat racks, lockers, desk drawers) to store personal items. Keep eating to café areas and reserve personal grooming for restrooms. 

3. Leave no trace.

Whether you’re working in an individual workspace, meeting room or other common area, allow enough time to tidy up before departing. Clear any paper, materials, food and beverage and dishes. Dispose of trash, return any borrowed items such as furniture, equipment or supplies to their original location. Clear all storage and surfaces. In meeting rooms, return furniture to its original layout, push chairs back into place, reset and turn off A/V equipment and wipe white boards clean. 

4. Be mindful of sounds and smells.

Subconscious humming, finger tapping and other noise can be distracting to neighbors. Use a “library voice“ soft enough so your conversation does not distract folks at the next desk. Keep all electronic devices on vibrate or the lowest setting. Avoid bringing strong-smelling food to your workspace. Avoid wearing heavily scented colognes and perfumes. 

5. Use discretion for phone and in-person conversations.

Step away from your work space to a community space or private area for lengthy phone conversations. Reserve an enclosed phone booth or meeting room when using a speakerphone, participating in conference calls or interactive webinars Likewise, take any extended conversations and impromptu meetings away from your workspace and move to the cafe, lounge or drop in meeting space.  

6. Set and respect personal and privacy boundaries.

To signal you don’t want to be disturbed, wear headphones, utilize any available desk partitions or move to an area dedicated to focus work.. Similarly, if your neighbor is wearing headphones or otherwise signalling they are doing focused work, hold your thought or question for another time. Or, send a message they can reply to at their convenience. 

Use discretion and judgment when working in common spaces. Take advantage of enclosed activity spaces for confidential calls, meetings or projects. When possible, arrange monitors to provide forward-looking seated privacy for confidential work. Delete your paper trail, both physical and digital, so nothing is left behind when you depart. Clear cache and log out completely of any shared technology device. Shred confidential documents when disposing of them.  

7. Support wellness goals.

Bring your healthy self to work. Stay home when you are sick. Sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow or a tissue that is immediately disposed of. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Be particularly vigilant after touching common areas that breed germs such as faucets, refrigerator and microwave doors, common keyboards and telephones, drinking fountains, vending machines and coffeemakers.  

8. Be kind to the earth.

Recycle. Use designated receptacles to dispose of bottles, cans and paper. Bring only what you will use in a day to store in refrigerators. Conserve power by turning off electronics and room lights when not in use. Utilize E-file and sharing whenever possible instead of printing and copying. 


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