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How to survive in an open plan office

Advice for working in an open plan office


The situation: You probably didn't get the choice between an open plan or private office; more than likely, you were allocated a desk and left to get on with it... and that's where the problem lies: "Workers should build their environment in an open plan office rather than having to put up with its constraints,"  insists Frank Bourdeau, specialist in wellbeing management. And that's where the introduction of a community charter comes in.

The solution: Gather everyone in your team together to discuss how to organize life in your open plan office. "Everyone should get the opportunity to express their opinion, because we all have a different perception of how things should be. Spend half a day if necessary to come to an agreement: it's important to take time to talk things through". Room temperature, open or closed windows, music, sound levels, eating in the office (and smells)...Come to an agreement on anything that could potentially cause conflict, and lay down unwritten rules that everyone has to stick to. If some people continue to break the rules, arrange another team meeting.

Avoid putting instructions down in writing. "Not only could you clash with internal company policy, but written rules have a coercive aspect and can make people feel as if they're being treated like kids". Written rules are a sure-fire way of making sure your charter isn't followed!


Women in Focus Editor
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