Etiquette in non-assigned offices

Gone are the traditional custom offices for each employee! Companies are now opting for spaces where everyone can work wherever they want, respecting the strictest health standards, while deconfinement is well underway in Canada.

Open areas, conference rooms, semi-private rooms and even lounges are being made available to staff. These redesigned offices are perfect for companies that have adopted telework.

That said, for this arrangement to yield positive results, certain rules have to be respected, insists etiquette specialist Danielle Roberge.

Book your space

To preserve harmony between employees working in a company where there is no assigned workstation, office space needs to be reserved as needed. “The best way is to have a shared calendar in which there are the names of spaces and where people can book their place themselves,” says Danielle Roberge. She recommends that a resource person is designated to help those who have difficulty booking or cancelling their reservations.

Keep the premises clean

Keeping your office clean is essential when workspaces are shared. Especially in these times! “It’s a basic criterion,” Danielle Roberge notes. The founder of the Parlons étiquette firm points out that employees of a company that has chosen to depersonalize workstations should not eat at their desks. They are rather invited to go to the cafeteria or the kitchen that has been set up for this purpose. “If you eat a snack or drink a coffee at your desk, you have to pay attention and clean up the space if necessary,” she adds. “The janitor will be coming by, but if in the meantime a colleague sees cookie crumbs and coffee rings, it’s not respectful.”

Pick up personal belongings

In offices where spaces are not assigned, employees should not take anything for granted. Even if they regularly occupy the same seat, they cannot leave personal effects on their worktable. “You have to behave like in a cafe,” suggests Danielle Roberge. “When you arrive you can set up your things, but when it’s time to leave, everything must be left in the same condition as it was when you arrived.” If a person has to use the same space for several days, or even a few weeks,  it is a good idea to notify coworkers to avoid potential conflicts.

Turn off your phone

In open shared spaces, employees rub shoulders with different colleagues every day. This cohabitation can be destabilizing for some, because of the constant change. “Some people move more air than others,” says Danielle Roberge. It is therefore essential to establish rules of life to minimize inconveniences, such as the mandatory muting of the smartphone, the obligation to go to a booth for phone calls and the need to speak in a low voice. “There has to be clear rules to prevent conflicts,” the etiquette specialist says.

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