Open office spaces are becoming increasingly popular for companies across the country. And while the open floorplan can be beneficial for efficiency and collaboration, it also runs the risk of creating interpersonal problems. Close quarters – with no barriers between desks – can lead to noisy distractions and unproductive interruptions for employees. By following these simple etiquette rules, employees can enjoy a modern open office without sacrificing productivity.
Feel free to add these to your office’s community board as a friendly reminder to coworkers:
- Tone down the noise
Pay attention to the way your habits affect others. If you have a tendency of talking loudly on the phone, blasting music on your computer, or cracking your knuckles while you’re thinking, you may be causing a distraction to others without knowing it. Remember that you all have to share the same space, so make an effort to keep the noise at a minimal level.
- Keep interruptions to a minimum
Be considerate of the work colleagues are doing around you. Respect their need for privacy and focus, and don’t get in the habit of chattering away when they are trying to concentrate. Consider adopting a signal that shows whether you are available to talk, or you need uninterrupted work time – which could be as simple as wearing headphones at your desk.
- Take advantage of private areas
Look for the ideal space to work on each type of task. If you have a series of long phone calls scheduled one day, take them in a quiet conference room away from others. If you are brainstorming about an upcoming project, move your group to a huddle room or the cafeteria.
- Manage the clutter
A desk piled with papers, coffee cups, and food wrappers creates stress for everyone in an open office. Keep your personal workstation professional and tidy, picking up trash and putting away supplies at the end of each day.
- Silence the smartphone
You might be used to every “ping” you get for a new text or social media notification, but your officemates aren’t. Turn off your phone’s sound, and better yet, put it away while you’re working. You can check it every now and then throughout the day without it becoming a distraction.
- Be sensitive to other styles
Every office features a diverse mix of personalities and work styles. Recognize that not everyone shares your tendencies – whether you are an extreme extrovert who gets energy from connecting with others, or an introvert who values blocks of independent work time.
- Take a sick day
Germs can spread fast in an open office, so be sure to stay home to recuperate when you’re feeling under the weather. Make it a habit to wash your hands, and wipe down your computer and work surfaces frequently.