Ten Things you should never do in an Open Plan Office! - [website] Email Print
Published: 14th of Aug 2017 by: Carolyn Kessler

Majority of the offices I visit have embraced the concept of the ‘open plan office’ setup.

When a bunch of people are sharing the same space for eight hours a day, five days a week, conflict is likely to arise. Usually it’s the smallest things that cause the most discomfit. This is where office etiquette comes in. Ground rules to which everyone adheres to and of which everyone is fully cognisant.

In my experience, the following ten complaints are those which rear their unwelcome heads most often on our Office Etiquette courses:

1) Be very aware of the fact that colleagues differ in their need for privacy. If you are a naturally outgoing person who has no problem sharing everything, you’ll easily step on the toes of those who aren’t. Recognise, without judging, that people are different and boundaries don’t equate to rejection – unless you overstep them that is!

2) Keep your voice modulated when you’re on the phone – it’s super distracting if everyone is forced to be party to your phone conversations. If you have a naturally loud voice, tone it down when you’re at the office.

3) Speaking of distracting – it drives people nuts if they’re trying to work and you are holding an extended, loud conversation with a colleague at another desk. Rather move through to the tearoom or somewhere else where you won’t be disturbing anyone.

4) Personal conversations should be conducted in a quiet, unobtrusive manner.

5) If you’re away from your desk for a while, please switch your phone over to voice mail – listening to a phone ring for ages is a huge irritant.

6) Likewise – if you’re at your desk, but not taking calls, switch it over to voicemail.

7) You might love left-over curry for lunch. Please eat it in the break-room. Pungent foodstuffs spread their odour all over the office, which is kind of selfish!

8) Don’t ever hang over someone’s shoulder and read what’s on their computer screen. Privacy in open plan office is paramount. You need to be extra careful to ensure that you respect the difficulty inherent in working on confidential material when you can’t close an office door.

9) If you have a problem with someone, do not address it in the open with everyone being forced to watch. Go somewhere private to discuss the issue.

10) Get everyone involved in compiling a list of house rules and make sure that everyone understands what’s considered acceptable and what isn’t.

Our Business Etiquette, Business Etiquette and Diversity and Conflict Prevention and Resolution courses cover modules designed to help companies negotiate these issues and many more.

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider. Contact us at 0861 996 660.

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