Everyone knows an etiquette rule or two: “Don’t use your phone at the dinner table”, “Don’t let your mood affect your manners”, “Always RSVP to event invitations”, etc.
The underlying principle of any etiquette rule is putting other people before yourself—a principle that’s especially important right now during a global pandemic.
If your employees have returned to the office, or plan to return soon, you might find that a shared workspace comes with challenges around social distancing, office supply hoarding (encouraged!) and not treating your desk as a phone booth or conference room.
To help with the transition to the new workplace normal, we’ve put together a few shared office space etiquette reminders to help everyone stay safe and healthy, whether they’re working together in traditional offices, open offices or a coworking space.
For ease of reading, we’ve included our 10 shared office space etiquette rules just below for you to share with your network or others in your organization.
We’ve also designed a colourful infographic that you can print as a pair on standard 8.5x11 paper and hang up together in your office. You can get our free infographic by going here.
Top 10 shared office space etiquette rules
1. Add extra time for tasks
Don’t rush to a meeting. Give yourself time to get to where you need to go without having to squeeze-by other people or cut them off.
2. Always use your elbow
If you have to sneeze or cough, please always do it in the crook of your elbow to keep droplets from spreading to objects or people.
3. Sanitize your workspace
Even if you’re the only one who uses your desk, put everything away and sanitize at the end of the day to give yourself a clean start.
4. Maintain personal bubble
Be aware of your personal space and that of others. Stay at least 2 metres or 6 feet apart to help prevent the spread of COVID.
5. Stay home if unwell
Please don’t come into work if you’re not feeling well. Coordinate with your manager about working from home or taking a sick day.
6. No meetings at your desk
If you’re discussing a project with a colleague, try and move it to either a meeting room or outside to keep from disturbing others nearby.
7. Take phone calls elsewhere
The same goes for phone calls. If you have to answer a client call or a personal call, leave your desk to speak somewhere else in private.
8. Don’t isolate yourself
Social distancing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make small talk with your coworkers. Ask someone about their day or weekend plans.
9. Hoard your supplies
Keep office supplies such as pens or paper at your desk and bring them with you to meetings so you don’t have to borrow someone else's.
10. Be kind and patient
We’re still figuring out how to handle things in our new normal. Give your coworkers as much space and support as you can.
Download the free infographic version of our 10 shared office space etiquette rules.
You might also like reading our article on COVID-19 Workplace Guidelines: What You Need to Know Before Reopening, which shows you which essential changes you need to make to your workplace before reopening.
Or download our free Gradual office reopening checklist: A guide for Canadian employers to learn how to protect employees returning to your physical workspace, including which policies you’ll need to update; how to ensure workplace hygiene; and how to implement social distancing protocols in the office.