The Nitty-Gritty of the Open Office

April 29, 2016 | Advice, Trends

Transitioning to an open office environment can be difficult at times for companies that are used to private offices and workstations with high panels.

Some employees are energized by the change, which brings a flatter hierarchy and the chance to collaborate more easily. And, the new layout often brings in more natural light and good views to all employees, not just those who have claimed an office on the perimeter.

But, there are downsides to the open office environment as well. Introverts often complain about them. Susan Cain, famous for both her book and TED talk on the power of introverts, has some suggestions on how the introverts among us can deal with this office revolution.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you may find yourself challenged by some of the new rules that the open office demands. Knoll has a short paper on how to develop an open office etiquette policy that will benefit everyone. Some key points include:

Keep sound in mind: with the noise around you, it might feel more natural to speak loudly. Guard against this.

Keep privacy in mind: most likely, your open office was designed with small conference and meeting areas, or even phone booths. Use them when a conversation should remain private.

Keep clutter in mind: since everything on your desk is more visible, straighten up at the end of the day, and be sure to file away anything that is confidential.

Keep odors in mind: be careful about heating up strong-smelling lunches and eating them at your desk. Use the lunchroom or cafeteria for the leftover salmon or garlic chicken from the night before.

Just in case you’re a visual person, or you need some great eye-catching statistics to back you up when you take these ideas to management or employees, you can take a look at an infographic our friends at Boomerang shared.

Remember, success in the open office often just depends on employees having an awareness of everyone around them.

image courtesy of



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