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The Challenges of Sharing a Workspace

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
Business Basics (34)      Business Management (16)      Managing Staff (15)      HR (9)     

Busy Office Environment
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our organisation was recently asked to provide a workspace for a new employee. This person would not be working for us but for the governing body that we are members of. The idea seemed good in theory. We would receive a fee for allowing this person to work from our facility as his base. For the sake of this story I’ll call him Bob.

What presented a bit of a problem, though was this-

This was a newly created position and the governing body was not sure exactly how it would progress or how much time Bob would actually be spending at his desk. We were not given much information about the type of work he would do except that he would be liaising with local services and seeking out clients.Beyond that we didn't ask.

On the day that he was appointed to the role and came to our facility to inspect his new workplace, I could see that Bob looked quite concerned.

You see, the only spot we had available was in a small office that already had two other busy workstations in it. Our manager was confident that the space would be plenty big enough for him. It wasn't until we sat down and had a conversation with Bob that it was revealed that he would be dealing with some rather sensitive client issues and would need not only to have privacy when making phone-calls, but to have a space where he could conduct confidential interviews with clients and possibly their families or caseworkers.

Busy Office Environment
Image courtesy of click / morguefile.com

Fortunately Bob is a patient and understanding guy and is making the best of a less-than-ideal situation until we can sort out something better.

This means that, in the meantime when Bob has to make a call, he has to leave the room and look for a quiet spot. It also means that he has to use his mobile phone instead of the land-line. If he needs to meet with a client, he tries to book it on a day when my office is free (I work part-time) so that he can shut the door and speak confidentially. This also means that when I’m not there I have to make sure that any of my own confidential work is locked away.

The only solution we have been able to come up with is to divide another meeting room into two smaller offices by installing a sound-proof partition and door. This is going to leave us short one room and take a large chunk out of the money we receive for having him at our facility.

Busy Office Environment
Image courtesy of SDRandCo - morguefile.com

So the cautionary word here is to ask - always ask questions before agreeing to anything . Finding yourself working in close proximity with – or sharing the same workstation as - another employee is challenging in itself, but when you are doing two different jobs and both of those require confidentiality, it can be a nightmare.

#Business Basics
#Business Management
#Managing Staff
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