Top 5 Etiquette Tips for Sharing an Office Space the Size of a Hamster Cage

Core Bank Kansas City - Bridget Clark

By Bridget Clark, SBA Credit Manager, Core Bank Loan Production Office

In March 2017, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to help establish the new Core Bank SBA Credit Department in Overland Park, Kansas. I was up for the exciting challenge of starting a new department, establishing new policies and procedures, hiring associates, and underwriting new SBA loan requests to help meet the credit needs of small business clients.

Being new to Core Bank and starting up a new department, I knew I would experience some challenges. (I can’t remember my numerous passwords, obtaining approval for new vendors, do I really know what I am doing?, etc.)

My biggest challenge to date is trying not to drive my three co-workers/officemates crazy.  We’ve worked together in a 400 square foot temporary office for the last six months. Through this experience, I’ve come up with my top 5 etiquette tips for sharing an office space that is the size of a hamster cage.

1) Refrain from making any comments about the room temperature.

Just agree that the temperature isn’t where it should be and move on. If you’re cold, wear your thermal underwear in July if it means that World War III won’t break out in the office when you turn off the A/C. When the third hot flash of the morning strikes, plug in your two desk fans, suck on your ice chips and power through. This, too, shall pass.

2) Invest in some good ear phones.

Please remember that not everyone shares the same musical passion for heavy metal or polka music that you have. Put those ear phones in and polka to your heart’s content as you prepare those month-end reports. Your officemates will simply throw paper clips at you to get your attention if they need to speak to you.

3) Adjust your inside speaking voice.

When you share a 400 square foot office with three other people, whispering seems like you are shouting. It will take some practice. In the beginning, you will be apologizing a lot as people can’t figure out why you are yelling at them, even though you were using your normal inside voice. The “new normal” is hard to adjust to at first, but it can happen with practice and patience.

4) Space is limited, don’t be a hoarder.

With a hamster cage as an office, now is not the time to bring in your entire Star Wars collection to put on display on your desk. Yes, the collection is awesome. Post pictures of it on social media like every other 13-year old, and free up room on your desk for the Friday morning donut box.

5) Be okay with having no privacy.

You might as well complete a questionnaire with medical, social and family background information and provide a copy to each co-worker. They will find everything out as you speak on the phone with your doctor, spouse, parent, child, sibling, etc. It will feel like you’re a grown adult who just moved back into your parents’ basement. You will feel obligated to explain where you are going at all times. And if you’ll be late, you had better let everyone know ahead of time to ensure a search party isn’t called in to find you. (I just had a dentist appointment for goodness sake!)

If you can’t figure out who in your office has violated these etiquette tips, then you might be the culprit!

I’ve learned that the room temperature argument will never be won. My musical tastes are not shared by all. There is no such thing as an inside voice with me. I’ve been known to take up every single inch of space on my desk and the floor with papers. And everyone now knows what time my husband has his follow up doctor’s appointment next week. I’m fully aware that I probably annoy my officemates at one point or another throughout the day. But I also know that we enjoy working together for Core Bank, even if it is in a hamster cage until our new office space is complete!