06 Aug Open Plan Office Etiquette

Do you work in an open plan office?

Does office etiquette matter anymore?

Of course!

While open plan offices are less formal, all colleagues should be treated respectfully and courteously.  Plus, good manners imply professionalism.

Here are some behaviours that will not leave a good impression and are more than likely annoying your colleagues – and they’re probably too polite to tell you otherwise:

  1. Don’t eat at your desk if you can help it.  Smells travel and sounds do too.  That crunchy carrot or tuna snack can be truly irritating and off-putting to the employees sitting next to you in an open plan office.   Save your eating for the office kitchen or take a break outside.
  2. Speakerphones.  There’s a time and a place for conversations on speaker.  Probably best used if you have an office to yourself with the door closed. Calls on speaker are, at best, disruptive, and at worst, embarrassing, to those around you.
  3. Avoidable sounds, for example, a noisy keyboard, constant “beep” notifications or an unattended ringing mobile phone will not raise your popularity in the office.
  4. Loud voices.  See point 1 above:  sound carries and can be extremely distracting.  Try to be mindful if you are disturbing your colleagues when speaking.
  5. Conversations loitering next to desks.  Although it’s nice to have a conversation with your colleagues, this can be a pet hate if you’re not included but are forced to listen throughout while trying to work.
  6. Bad language.  Always keep your language professional and think about what you say when you use humour and sarcasm as these can often be misinterpreted and can easily cause offence.
  7. Sniffing.  While it is cold and flu season, try not to sniff but blow your nose instead and don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards as germs travel fast in the office, especially this time of year!

Do you have any other open plan office do’s and don’ts?  Let me know in the comment box below!