Thursday, June 9, 2016

Blog a Day June: Office Etiquette

Today was trying. Trying is okay. I can cope with trying. Trying is just part of the joys of being a contractor. After a few choice words, a cup of coffee and finally a trip to my happy place for a feed, (Nandos - Nandos fixes everything) things  got a bit better. However, the day would have been made a bit better if some people around the office took notice of a couple of points of office etiquette.

I must relay the fact that I work in an open plan, hot-desking office. Don't know what hot-desking is? Every morning I have to pull out my lap top and papers from a locker and find a desk in a designated area.  If I don't get in early enough (like by 8.45 am) I find myself either working from the kitchen or from a booth without an external screen. At night, everything is placed back in the locker. Odds are on you will sit at a different desk next to a different person every day. You get used to it. You get used to asking people who they are and what they do (as I asked somebody the other day to find out he was some big wig).

Most importantly, there is some etiquette that needs to be followed.

Mobile Phones

Working in an open environment where your phone mobile phone is your main form of communication there are rules. There are lots of contractors in the building who generally don't get a land line - normally only permanent staff are afforded a land line number. So your personal mobile is how people contact you.

The rules include using your inside voice for calls - unless you take your phone to a meeting room and make the call there. Most people are pretty good with this. Calls at the desks are kept low in volume or short of speech. Longer personal calls are normally taken in the kitchen or atrium away from prying ears. There is plenty of space to take the call in relative privacy. Most people keep to this.

The other piece of phone etiquette is the ring tone. Again, most have their phones set to silent or vibrate. Light and motion let you know a call is coming through. You take your phone with you to meetings for the most part too - where you phone is set to silent. If you leave it on your desk, turn the bloody thing to silent as well. (One left on a desk today nearly got thrown five floors down into the atrium floor)

Smelly Food

Keep it to the kitchen. Lunch at your desk is okay if it's not too smelly. If it is on the fragrant side, get rid of the rubbish quickly afterwards.

A pet hate of mine is people who leave fruit detritus on the desk for the day. We have a repeat offender in our office. I've asked nicely if the banana peels could go into a bin say twice a day. Seems it's too hard to move these smelly pieces of rubbish to the bin in the kitchen (That's where the bins are in these hot desking / open plan offices - there's even a designated organics bin, along with one for recycling and one for general rubbish. Nup) Bad smells don't go down well.


There's no room for agro here. Rants and shouts you keep to meeting rooms - again, most are really good at keep this. The other thing that doesn't go down well - the wonderful passive aggressive notes that occasionally spring up.

Image result for passive aggressive notes

If you have a problem with somebody, say so, quietly, respectfully and once.

That's a start. It's getting late and we have a big day tomorrow.m that it's Padraig's birthday, so it's out to dinner after work with a few people.

I think I have enough material to write on this topic later in the month.


Kellieemm said...

I'm not a fan of the open office - my condolences - and thank you for an entertaining read

Jackie K said...

Yes, all true. I work as a hot desker, more or less, and have to say I actually love it. I love being a mobile worker and having all my work on my laptop and in the cloud, with a few bits of temporary paper in my laptop bag. My phone is my mobile. When I'm at our clients' offices and see the clutter, unnecessary things and the 'my world' tone that builds up on desks when people own them, I have no wish to go back to that.
But I do get your frustrations - it has its downsides.
We all need our happy place. Mine is currently a tiny outdoor-seating cafe near work that does the best chicken Thai roti ever.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I work in an open office too but I don't hot desk. That sounds a bit weird to be honest. I do know people who do that though.