Do you have “that person” in your office that whenever they speak, no matter where they are it feels as if they are standing right behind you? That voice that carries from the most distant corner and the farthest cubicle. You know who I mean. In my current situation I have two of “those” people. First, there is the woman with the high pitched voice and strong American accent. (I think she swallowed a microphone, with very bad feedback, as a child.) The sound just comes slicing through the air and screeches into your eardrums. Then there is “Radio Guy”. This guy has a voice that truly should be on radio. It is a deep booming voice even when he is trying to talk “quietly”. If he stood at the front of a huge room with the worst acoustics in the world, everyone would still be able to hear him clearly. Of the two Radio Guy is the least annoying because he does have a nice voice. The problem is no matter how hard you try to ignore him when he is talking to others his voice draws your attention away from what you should be doing. This is a negative in two ways. One, you keep getting interrupted and lose your concentration for the task at hand. Two, you are tempted to look at him every time he speaks, making you look like you are eavesdropping!
There are certain events and special days that mark and shape our lives. Some of these are obvious and many of them are public knowledge such as birthdays, weddings anniversaries and so on. Most of the days in our lives when we wake up we have no clue how significant that day will turn out to be. Five years ago on the 13th of January was exactly one of these days for me. I was due to have lunch with someone I had been chatting to online. We had been in touch almost every day for about 2 months. I should have known, the minute I woke up and looked outside, that the day would be a good one because it was snowing. I love the snow and I still get as excited as a little kid when the white stuff comes down!
We had planned to meet at my local pub. This also turned out to be a bonus because I literally could not drive out of our neighbourhood, it was totally impassable. I got ready and walked down to the pub which is about 3/4 of a mile from my house. It was one of those perfect snowy days where there are only a few cars on the road and all sounds are muted by the blanket of snow. It was bitterly cold as well but that didn’t seem to bother me as I crunched my way down the path towards the pub. There was a sizzle of excitement running through me that I thought was a combination of the snow and the meeting now only minutes away. Like the weather outside I too had a flurry, this one of emotions buzzing around. Excitement yes but also hesitation, what if she shows up and has 3 heads? What if we find that after two months online there is nothing else to say or we don’t have things in common etc. I didn’t have to wait long to find out I had nothing to worry about. Once in the pub and the initial greeting hugs over we started to talk and did not stop. In one way It was like I had known this incredible person my whole life yet in other ways I couldn’t wait to get to know her better. I never wanted that lunch to end and in a way it didn’t. Five years have now passed and we still have not runout of things to talk about. We have been married for three years, have seen 4 grandchildren born and have a very busy and wonderful life. So, moral of the story, what appears to be a “normal” day can turn out to be one of the most important and special days of your life. I now try to wake up each day thinking “what incredible things are going to happen today?”
Open plan offices are very common now but you would be amazed by what you still see and hear going on in these shared spaces. Here are a few do’s and dont’s for working in an in this type of environment:
Gentlemen, when walking through the office Don’t adjust yourself first and then turn around to see if anyone can see you…they can!
Ladies, don’t hold conversations at your desk or other’s desks regarding the pros and cons of various feminine sanitary products.
Don’t perform personal business transactions on the phone while in the office because when you give out your bank details, date of birth, credit cards number etc. the person on the other end of the phone is not the only making notes!
Don’t argue with your kids on the phone because everyone will just think you are the meanie no matter what the child has done.
If you are the one person in the office with the piercing laugh please refrain because it makes others want to strangle you!
Hovering,…this spans both the do’s and don’ts. If you are hovering because you do not want to be at your desk but you have nowhere else you need to be this is a don’t.
Hovering with Intent is slightly different and gives you leeway as you are simply trying to give someone else (who is currently engaged in something you consider to be not very important or you think will end very soon) a clue you need to speak to them and s acceptable.
Hovering because someone else is hovering near your desk is not acceptable.
Eating in an open plan office has its risks. The rule of thumb should be just because you think the strong aroma of your lunch is nice does not mean others share your olfactory preferences.
Don’t eat a food that can be measured in decibels.
Don’t PICK anything!!
Be considerate of others but if someone else is annoying you with one of the don’ts plan to use a more offensive don’t back!
I hope you will find these tips useful in your day to day working life. 🙂