After spending considerable time in an open office environment, there are a few things I’ve learned regarding basic office etiquette. Here are some that I’d like to share:
Stand up when talking to people
Often people come by for short discussions. If the person who’s approached you, prefers to stand, don’t keep sitting in your seat. Rather, stand up and talk to them. It’s more respectful.
Don’t talk loudly
This is not only limited to having loud conversations with the peers sitting next to you or across from you, but also to phone conversations. If your discussion over the phone is getting heated, find a spare meeting room for it instead of shouting for everyone else to hear. Similarly, if your face-to-face discussion is getting louder, find a meeting room to conclude it.
Don’t block the steps
A number of times I’ve encountered people who run into friends on the stairs and they decide to catch up there and then. They fail to realize that they’re coming in other people’s way and causing inconvenience. Clear the way for everyone else and take your friend to the side for a chat.
Pull the door open
For doors that swing both ways and do not have a push or pull sign on them, pull them towards you while passing through. If the door is made of glazed glass one can’t see whether someone is coming from the other side and pushing the door in would result in the door colliding with the person on the other side.
Hold the door for the person behind you
When entering/exiting through a swinging door, hold the door after passing through for a few seconds if someone is coming up behind you.
Leave a clean desk
Make sure your desk is clean when you pack up for the day. There shouldn’t be any dirty cups, tissue papers, printed material lying about on the desk when you leave. Remember that you’re sitting in an open office space and later someone else might be sitting at that desk.
P.S. some things listed in this post do not apply only to office manners but are applicable generally as well.