If you are reading this and you have a door to your office, this might not be for you.But read on if you are among of the majority of Rwandans who have to share work space.
Today, most employees are used to having a cubical as their work space area.
The challenge is they tend to forget that their space is really a part of other people’s space as well.
It starts with each person having an expanded awareness of the space around them. Our behavior has an impact on all the employees who share this common space.
When we pay attention, we show respect and consideration to others - which is a significant part of building strong business relationships and teams.
When space is cramped and people work in close proximity, privacy, interruptions, loud voices, temperature, and even choice of fragrances (or lack of one) can become focal points for conflict.
Sometimes, simply facilitating a collaborative and productive work environment can become quite a challenge for leadership.
Much of our workforce is in cubicles and it feels like there’s been a constant struggle over one or more issues of daily life.
It is almost a sure deal that when people work closely together, minor irritations become major conflicts over time until bad feelings spring up and get in the way of people working together.
Some cubicle or work space ‘etiquette’ is needed. It’s about time you respected other’s time.Just because there’s no door to close, the other person can’t easily signal they are busy.
As a visitor,”knock” lightly or say “May I come in?”Be respectful of “noise”. If you have a loud voice, get in the habit of speaking more softly.
Use headphones if you want to listen to music or if a discussion is private or confidential, find a conference room or private office for the call or meeting.Keep your work space clean and professional looking.
Never assume the person is automatically available to talk with you or barge into a cubical. This is someone’s office even though it doesn’t have a door.
Until you have an agreement in place to speak over the “wall”, dont stand up or hang over the cubicle wall to have a conversation.Shouting a request or response to a nearby cubicle is tempting but dont.
Walk over or pick up the phone. Hovering at or over a cubicle, if the person is on the phone is impolite, leave and come back later.
However I guess if our employers want to go for an open workspace, it would do a great good if they head off some problems by establishing ground rules and expectations regarding daily courtesies and behavior like offering training in effective communication and respectful conflict resolution.
Also, since noise and privacy are the two major complaints when employees work in open environments, you may want to provide specific training that covers how best to address each other respectfully, resolve issues like loud voices, and deal with interruptions and distractions.
The goal is to build the workgroup’s ability to resolve differences and work together.