Laughing out loud with a mouth full of food can make working in an open plan office a different experience if you’re not used to big personalities. It can be a lot of fun when these personalities fill the space, however it can also be extremely frustrating. Office etiquette, if followed, can make working with a mixture of personalities much easier. Besides, open plan offices are much more social and it’s better than being stuck in a lonely office all day by yourself.
As much as working in an open plan office is better for staff morale and increased productivity, some people have to gently be reminded that it is still the work place and their constant distracting actions can start to affect those around them. Here are some tips to open plan office etiquette:
- Be a grown-up: Sometimes co-workers have had a lot to do and they prefer to simply put their heads down and work for the rest of the day. You will naturally need attract their attention for work related issues, try not to throw balled up paper at them to get catch their eyes. It’s considered a no-no on the office etiquette scale.
- Eating at the desk: Unless you work for a boss who loathes the fact that you have to take lunch – and even eat at all – rather go to the canteen for lunch or outdoors. Eating at your desk is cool but try not to bring tuna and egg mayo sandwiches to work and then finish it off with a pack of prawn flavoured crisps. The crunchy, smelly lunch guy is not the cool guy. It’s a very important office etiquette rule, and number one on the office “popularity” scale.
- Shouting across the office: It’s almost like someone coming into your room and shouting at you to wake-up, it’s just not done. Some colleagues will shout and over-share. Too much information loudly conveyed shakes the foundations of the richter scale of bad office etiquette. Try to keep it down please.
- Singing along to music: Jamming to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” at 10 off-key decibels is a sure-fire way to make enemies out of work colleagues. Firstly, it may simply be that Gaga fans are offended, and secondly – which is the most likely of reasons – colleagues talking to clients sometimes loathe making apologies for the 35-year-old child they work with. Office etiquette guidelines include telephone etiquette when speaking to clients, and perhaps some foot tapping on a pillow instead of off-key bellowing.
There is so much to learn about office etiquette and as much as we loathe to point it out, the papers on which the rules are written on are – very often – balled-up and thrown at your colleagues when your shouting doesn’t get their attention because they’re on the phone. There is no fine line. It’s obvious.
Vida Denning is a freelance writer was researching open plan office space Reading when she came across this topic.