Author: Michelle Mamerto
Working in an open office might be difficult for some who might never have worked in a shared environment. There are a few things to keep in mind and they all revolve around being courteous, and respecting privacy. Sharing an open office can help your team bond and grow together.
My co-workers and I share common interests, and we enjoy each other’s company. It’s very easy for us to get carried away in our conversations, and become a distraction for other co-workers who might be on an important call or meeting. When in an open office, try to speak in a low volume, but also limit your personal conversations to times when it will not distract others from their work.
We have a couple of designated meeting areas in our office. Taking meetings in those areas signals to the office that they need to be careful of the volume, that the employee who is in a meeting cannot take phone calls at the moment, and any questions need to be put on hold until their meeting is finished. Try to take meetings in an area that is more secluded, and with less foot traffic. In that way, you will be able to communicate with minimal interruptions.
When sharing a workspace with other people, we need to keep in mind what is a warm room temperature for one person, could be freezing for another. Someone may like to listen to country music, and another might hate it. The perfume that smelled so good at the store, might be suffocating to people in the office. We need to be courteous to our co-workers. Ask for permission with each other if you are opening a window, dimming the lights, turning on the radio or changing the temperature of the thermostat. Also, take it easy on the perfume or cologne (don’t wear any is probably the best thing,) and when you eat lunch to work, try to remember that when something is heated in the kitchen, the scent may stay inside the office all day. Be careful with foods that have a strong scent.
Lastly, don’t forget to mind your own business! If someone is on a phone conversation that has nothing to do with you, try not to put in your two cents. If someone gets an urgent personal call that they have to take at the office, they might not want to chat about it with the person who was walking by when they took the call.
We, at The Job Shop, love working in our open space, and we are lucky to also be friends, but in other workplaces, that might not be the case. It’s hard not to overhear conversations, and easy to forget that someone might be working while everyone else might be chatting about the game last night or weekend plans, but it’s all about respecting one another, and creating the best environment for the team.