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How to work in an open plan office

Many work environments are now more open and fewer companies provide offices. This has many challenges and can decrease productivity however there are a few simple things you can try to make the most of this environment.

Have a clean Desk Policy

Get rid of all unnecessary paper, as it is a distraction. Clear desks are important for overall presentation and a clear desk policy will help you to be more organised and therefore productive. This is also good for company security to ensure you don’t leave important documents on your desk.

Don’t yell across the workstation

Walk over to someone’s workstation or use your e-mail or phone. Other people don’t need to hear your conversation.

Manage your phones. Try to answer your phone within 3 rings

The constant noise of desk phones and mobile phones can be distracting if someone is trying to complete a project. Be considerate. Turn down the volume of your desk phone. Select a mobile phone ring that won’t annoy others around you. Answer your neighbour’s phone if this is appropriate. If you will be away from your desk for a prolonged period of time, have your phone diverted.

Do not hold conversations outside others workstations

Be considerate. If you want to have a meeting, choose a space that won’t impact on others.

Keep things off the floor surrounding your desk

Keep your paperwork and any other items within your desk area.

Store things under your desk

If you need more space use the area under your desk and not the walkways.

If you are listening to music keep it down or invest in a pair of headphones.

Headphones are a great way to show other people you are working on something and don’t want to be disturbed.

Book a meeting room for more than two people.

If you are using a meeting room or the Board Room, tidy it up before you leave. Always leave the room in a neat and tidy fashion for the next meeting.

If you do answer someone else’s phone

Take a message and e-mail the details immediately, as pieces of paper may go missing.

Surround yourself with inspiration or something that is meaningful for you i.e. a photo of your family, but don’t overdo it.

You want your workstation to look professional as you are on show to everyone around you.

Keep your voice down

If your voice tends to carry, you are loud or you have a unique voice (like me), be aware of the volume of your voice so you don’t interrupt other people.
Make the most of your open plan environment by trying these simple tips.

About Neen James

Neen James, MBA CSP, is the President/CEO of Neen James Communications, LLC. An international productivity expert and native born Aussie, Neen delivers engaging keynotes that have educated, and entertained audiences with real-world strategies that apply in all roles, whether at work or in life. Neen also provides one-on-one consulting and mentoring to women on a variety of business issues and topics. To find out more about Neen, visit her at http://www.neenjames.com/.

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