Survive The Open Office Workspace With These 5 Etiquette Tips
Many businesses are tearing down their office cubicle walls and opting for a more open office workspace. The goal of an open office is to create an environment that is flexible and encourages conversations easily between colleagues to facilitate better communication, faster problem solving and decision-making.
But, inevitably more conversation can lead to interruptions to your concentration. Combined with the distractions of impromptu meetings and background clatter, the noise level can be disturbing. And, although the trend towards open offices are becoming more prevalent, open office spaces aren’t universally popular. The increased interruptions can sometimes cause a loss of concentration, frustration and reduced productivity for some. Employees in open offices tend to have little privacy and workers can’t control lighting, temperature, sounds and smells.
So, if your office environment requires you to work just a few feet away from your coworkers, make sure you use and encourage others to follow these open office etiquette tips.
- Limit Personal Calls. If you have to take a call, especially a personal one, take it outside. In general, people tend to talk in a louder voice on a cell phone than they do in person, so having a loud conversation is disturbing for everyone around you. Additionally, if you are expecting a call, keep your phone set to vibrate. Avoid startling your coworkers with the ultra-loud beats of your hip-hop ring tone.
- No Strong Smells. It should stand to reason, no one wants to smell anything obscene while working, especially in closed quarters. For instance, don’t decide it’s a good time to paint your nails, wear powerful perfume (or floral lotions). And, 100% without a doubt it’s never a good idea to eat your tuna fish sandwich at your office desk.
- Don’t interrupt Others. The biggest complaint for open office spaces is the vulnerability you feel sitting out there in the open. Just because there isn’t an office door to close doesn’t mean that your colleague is openly available to you. When approaching a colleague, ask them, “do you mind if I ask you a question, or can I disturb you for a quick second”? Then, if your coworker is ok to interact, they will do so without feeling bothered.
- Set Rules Around Impromptu Meetings. There are times when impromptu meetings involving several people can quickly develop within a work area. This open communication is great, and can really speed up decisions for those involved. But it can also be a major distraction for those not directly involved in the conversation. Don’t hold private meetings in public workspaces. Move the meeting to a collaboration corner or a private conference room / breakout room.
- Limit Personal Items. When you work in an open office, a lot of time you are sharing office space (hot desking) with coworkers. Keep personal mementos off of your shared office desk, even if you think everyone would benefit from the framed picture of your cat. If you do want to bring in something extra, make sure it benefits everyone, such as a gumball machine or a basket of candy.
A little etiquette will go a long way to surviving the working environment of an open office design. If you need help in your next office design, ROSI Office Systems, specializes in FREE space planning and can help you determine the effectiveness of an open office workspace. Contact Us to begin planning your new office whether you need office furniture in Houston, traditional office cubicles or open space office work stations, we’re here to help!