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<p><b>5 rules of etiquette in the open space</b></p>
June 13, 2022#soft-skills

5 rules of etiquette in the open space

The offices of many IT companies are built according to the open space type. Usually this is a space without walls, where employees from different projects or departments work side by side. Despite all the advantages of such offices, not everyone is comfortable working there. Loud neighbors get in the way, the feeling that you are in plain sight is annoying.

   It is very important to try to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony in the open space. To do this, you need to follow the simple rules of etiquette. Start with yourself – not only a bad example is contagious.

   In this article we will share with you the rules of etiquette in the open space:

1. Keep noise to a minimum

   Many employees need silence for productive work. Our brain and nervous system suffer from noise pollution in the same way as the digestive system suffers from junk food. The lack of sound privacy can lead to chronic fatigue, stress, burnout, and other physical illnesses.

   The main source of noise in the open space is neighbors. How to concentrate when one is talking loudly on online calls with a customer, another is tapping on the keyboard, the third has music sounds coming from the headphones, the fourth is telling a colleague about the past weekend in colors, and the fifth is continuously receiving messages on the phone? Being patient and angry is a bad option. Make a tactful remark to your colleagues: people around you are unlikely to guess that they are interfering with you if you don't tell them.

   At the same time, do not forget that you need to control not only the behavior of neighbors, but also your own. Pay attention to the volume of your voice during online calls, discuss all work issues in meeting rooms, and personal ones in kitchens or recreation areas. Make sure that your headphones do not miss the sounds of music, and the phone is on silent mode.

2. Respect your colleagues' personal space

   Another popular complaint from openspace employees is the lack of personal space. Constantly being in sight is another encroachment on personal space. From 20 to 40% of employees are dissatisfied with the lack of visual privacy. Do not expose yourself and colleagues to even greater discomfort: do not look into other people's monitors and do not distract neighbors with conversations.

3. Don't come to work sick

   Even a not very serious illness – whether it's a runny nose or a slight fever – is a reason not to come to the office. Work from home or take sick leave, but protect colleagues from contact with you. Viruses need only a couple of hours to fill half of the surfaces in the office. One sneeze can trigger a chain reaction of illness in the entire open space. And yes, it is unlikely that colleagues will be pleased to hear you blow your nose or sneeze.

   In addition, the productivity of your work decreases when you are ill. While the brain is trying to solve complex problems, the body throws all its strength into the fight against viruses. There will be little exhaust from working in this state, and the state of health may noticeably worsen by the end of the day.

4. Do not abuse the smells

   Having lunch or a snack right at the computer desk, so as not to be distracted from work, is a bad idea. Besides the fact that the food gets dirty, it also smells. Respect your neighbors' olfactory receptors. Eat in specially designated places – in the kitchen or in the dining room. Lunch break is a good opportunity to change the situation and take a little break from work.

   You should also not overdo it with perfume: there is no certainty that you and your neighbors like the same flavors. Remember about etiquette and do not use too harsh flavors during working hours. 

5. Sort out the air conditioning and windows

   Open windows and air conditioners running at full capacity also often become a stumbling block among the inhabitants of the open space. There will always be those employees who are always hot, and those who are constantly freezing. It is very difficult for both sides to come to a compromise. However, you can try: agree with your colleagues that you will make the temperature of the air conditioner slightly lower in hot weather or ventilate the room several times a day.

   If none of the neighbors makes concessions, solve the problem by your own efforts. Are you always hot? Wear a T-shirt under your sweater, which you can stay in when you feel stuffy. During breaks, go outside to get some air. Are you always freezing? Dress warmer or keep a warm scarf in the nightstand, in which you can wrap yourself up. And also choose a workplace away from windows and air conditioners, or ask a neighbor to swap places with you.

   No rules of etiquette will work if an unhealthy emotional climate reigns in the team. Respect your colleagues and their wishes, listen and help each other, develop emotional intelligence. Then it will not be difficult to follow the rules of openspace.