Here at Accru Melbourne we are preparing to move to an open plan office in a matter of weeks! For the most part we are VERY EXCITED to be in a brand new office, but there are some staff feeling a little uncertain about moving to an open plan environment.
Open plan offices have become very common in the corporate world. They provide a collaborative, inclusive and creative environment, helping to break down barriers between staff. On the downside, privacy is reduced with staff being seated in closer proximity to each other than before.
To ensure your open plan environment is a positive one, being courteous to your colleagues is a must! The following tips will help employees thrive in an open plan:
- Employ telephone etiquette! Be aware of your volume when talking on the phone. If you need to take a lengthy phone call, attempt to minimize distraction by taking the call away from your desk. At Accru Melbourne we will be lucky enough to have many break out areas and meeting rooms to allow employees to find a quiet space when required. Thus reducing distractions to them or their colleagues. Set your mobile phone to silent or vibrate. That cool star wars ringtone on your mobile phone may sound great to you but be very annoying to your colleagues!
- Not everyone has the same musical taste. Use headphones if you listen to music (and if it is acceptable in your workplace). Music helps many people to concentrate as it blocks out the background noise.
- Food can be a bug bear for many! Ideally don’t eat at your desk, but if you do, avoid eating smelly foods and ensure you do not leave dirty plates, cups and food scraps around your work station.
- Keep your desk tidy. In an open plan office everything is on display. You don’t want your things beginning to clutter up your colleagues’ space. A messy desk may also lead people to think you’re disorganized.
- Take some downtime when you need it. Introverts may find it more difficult than extroverts to adapt to an open plan environment. Take time out for yourself. Have a coffee or lunch alone or go for a walk during your break.
- Book a meeting with yourself! When you have a tight deadline or need to really focus book a meeting room to ensure you can work without interruptions to get the work done.
- Personalise your space. Have a few things around you that make you feel good (photo frames, calendars etc.). You spend a good part of your day at your desk and want to enjoy your work space.
- Increase the face to face communication. One advantage of an open office is that it’s easy to see everyone and have conversations. Take the opportunity to decrease the internal emails and phone calls and build relationships by having conversations with your colleagues.
- Take advantage of quieter work times. If possible come in to the office earlier or work later so you’re able to take advantage of the times when the majority of your colleagues are not in the office.
- Have mini meetings in appropriate areas. It can be distracting for others when colleagues start to hold mini meetings at your desk. Move away to a quiet area to talk freely.
- Take advantage of the fact you are sitting out on the work floor with your manager. This is a great chance to observe and learn from them.
Whilst moving to an open plan environment is very exciting, it’s also a big change. People may need time to transition into the new space. Employing the above tips will ensure that you adapt and thrive in an open plan environment and make the most of the positive communication benefits.
By Kate Cain, Accru Melbourne