Good Neighbour Guidelines

A guide to protocol in your new work environment. Download a printable PDF here.


In open work spaces, it can be difficult to signal that you do not want to be disturbed. As in all things, the best approach is to observe the golden rule: treat your coworkers the way you want them to treat you.

  • Knock lightly, or ask politely before you enter someone else's work space. Just because someone is at his or her desk, does not mean it's a good time for a meeting or a chat.
  • Unless you and your neighbor have mutually agreed upon communications norms, don't talk 'over' a screen.
  • If your knock goes unanswered, try again later, call or email to arrange a good time. Even if you can see that there is someone in the work space.
  • Use a conference room for meetings, and a telephone room for private calls. You probably don't want your neighbour to hear your private conversations, so do your part to keep them private.
  • Peeking over privacy screens is not polite.
  • Never assume it is okay to sit on someone's desktop. It's not.
  • Don't have impromptu meetings in front of a work spaces.
  • Avoid speakerphones in shared work spaces. Your VOIP phone can be moved to a telephone or meeting room. If you need a hands-free system, consider a headset for your phone.
  • If you overhear something you know is private, treat any information you hear as confidential. Let your neighbor know if you can hear everything they say - they may not realize their voice carries!

Annoying Noises

  • Set your ring volume appropriately. When you are away from your office for an extended period, please forward your calls or turn off your ringer.
  • Cell phone or desktop alarms can be very useful - they can also be very annoying. As with your phone, please set alarm volume where you can hear it, but your neighbor won't be disrupted.
  • Please use headphones when listening to the radio, MP3 device or watching or listening to events on your computer.
  • The atria are terrific places to gather for coffee or lunch. Please remember that these spaces are surrounded by work spaces and not everyone takes lunch at the same time. Keep conversation at an appropriate level. Riotous laughter is a cheerful sound - unless you're trying to concentrate. And please, be mindful of your language choices!


For more information about security, please see Protective Service's campus security information.

  • Keep your eyes open for people who you don't recognize. Challenge strangers with a polite but firm "Can I help you?" Ask visitors who they are looking for or meeting with.
  • Your work space has multiple locking drawers and cabinets. Sensitive, confidential and private documents and valuables should be locked out of view when you are not at your desk.
  • After hours, be extra vigilant. Watch for 'tailgaters', people who follow you through a door you've opened using your access card.
  • Never lend anyone your access card!
  • There are no student lounges or study spaces on levels 3, 4 or 5. Students should use appropriate spaces on L1, 1 and 2.

Scents & Sensibilities

  • Scented items such as personal hygiene products, air fresheners, detergents and cleaning products can aggravate sensitivities in some individuals. Please limit the use of scented items or use fragrance-free products whenever possible. If anyone tells you your cologne, perfume, hand cream etc. is too much - it is!

Shared Spaces

  • Workrooms, nutrition nooks, meeting rooms, telephone rooms, filing and touchdown work stations: we share these spaces with others.
  • Your group has identified a representative to refresh supplies such as paper and dish-soap. Contact the ECHA SAO to inquire about other items for shared spaces (batteries, data-cables, HDMI cables).
  • Organize special pickups for large purge events. Do not overfill shredding bins.
  • Posters can go on bulletin boards or in sign holders for meeting and conference rooms only. Paper taped to walls, fridges, glass etc will be removed.
  • Please use the confidential document disposal bins in the copy/workrooms for items that are for shredding only. All other paper is to be placed in the blue recycling bins.
  • Shredders are NOT permitted in ECHA.
  • Paper in shared spaces is for use in the multi-function devices only. Do not take paper from these rooms.
  • Leave all spaces the way you would like to find them. Supplies should not be removed from shared spaces.
  • Contact the ECHA shared administration office to request AV Equipment supplies for the shared meeting rooms or report technical issues or missing equipment.


Fridges are cleaned once a month, see the schedule here. Microwaves are cleaned Thursday evenings.

  • Fridges
    • Fridges are for short-term food storage only, and are shared by large numbers of people.
    • Please do not store excessive quantities of food, or leave food overnight.
    • Fridges are cleaned monthly. All items left in fridges (including the freezer compartment) will be discarded by cleaning staff.
  • Microwaves
    • Cover food to prevent splatters.
    • Wipe up spills and spatters when they happen. The warmth and humidity in a microwave makes it a perfect environment for bacteria growth.
    • Stay with your food to make sure it doesn't burn, boil over or explode. Never leave microwave popcorn unattended! Burning food can set off smoke alarms causing serious disruption.


Potted plants are fine in your work space as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Plants must be healthy and well cared for; clean up dropped leaves or spent flowers.
  • The plant stays in your space: watch climbing and creeping plants to make sure they respect boundaries!
  • Put a tray under the pot to capture any runoff from watering.
  • Under no circumstance are pesticides, fungicides, or chemical fertilizers permitted in ECHA.
  • Flowers produce pollen and this can be an allergy issue for some people; if anyone has environmental or specific allergies due to your plant you may be asked to take it home.
  • Plants that are not cared for will be removed.


  • Animals are not permitted in the building at any time.
  • The only exceptions to this rule are working animals as defined by UAPPOL
  • Approval for working animals is under the purview of the VP, Facilities & Operations and cannot be granted by ECHA Administration or individual faculties.