Friday, January 30, 2015

Open Plan Office Etiquette

Photo Credit: Jamie Henderson, Flickr

Office environments, over the past few years, have had to sail through the seas of change. While cubicles at the workplace are extremely common, there are some companies that have chosen to do away with them. This is what led to the birth of what is now known as open space offices. Companies prefer open spaces to cubicles for two main reasons. Open spaces help cut down costs and also help employees build relationships. Some companies however resort to an open space work environment for the sole purpose of helping employees work in a friendly and warm environment, as opposed to a cold cubicle. Sadly, however, open space work environments have not had the desired effect due to the each and every individual’s habits, working style, tastes and preferences. When in an open space office, it is important to be aware of one’s actions and words. Make your move and read on to gain access to a sizeable number of pointers that are guaranteed to give you an insight into the do’s and don'ts at an open plan office.

Open Plan Office Etiquette

Tone Down Your Volume
No matter how nice a person you are, if you tend to be loud all the time, you most probably will top the hate list of your colleagues. People like to work around professionals in a professional environment and not around loud, obnoxious chatterboxes. This is something that you will just have to keep in mind when working in an open space office. Here, at no cost do you want the volume of your voice to be the cause of disturbance.

Say No To Personal Calls
The last thing a coworker would want to hear at work is you jabbering to a friend about how your dinner date with your boyfriend/girlfriend was such a disaster! If you ever get a personal call when at your desk, be courteous enough to step out to answer the call. However, if it is impossible for you to step out to answer a personal call, at least make sure you talk in a normal tone of voice when answering the call.

Table Manners
With busy work schedules, a one-hour lunch break is as good as a luxury. This busyness in turn sees a lot of people eat at their desks, which only justifies the need for table manners. The table manners in an office setting are only slightly different from the ones set at home. When at home you can feel free to have just about anything, however the same cannot hold true at work. You don't want to carry food that smells or can generally be repulsive to the people around you. You also don't want to made loud chomping noises while eating. It is a must to bring food that does not smell and eat the same without disturbing the people around you.

Respect Privacy
Just because there are no cubicles in an open space office, doesn't mean it is okay to be caught staring at your colleagues monitor or strike a conversation with him/her at the drop of a hat. Respect your colleague’s privacy and ask him/her for permission before clearing doubts or going on one of your many conversation escapades.

It is essential to have a clean desk, especially when in an open space office environment. No excuses here! No one likes to be around messy people and sure do not like working with messy people. Ensure that your desk looks neat and is free of clutter. Wastepaper, chocolate wrappers, pizza boxes, cola bottles, a thousand files, etc. are simply not allowed.

As seen on

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The History of the Modern Workspace

“Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements!” Of all the corporate backtalk served up in Office Space, this sentiment may be the one any employee, no matter how much flair, can get behind. Who actually prefers sitting in company-approved shoeboxes? How did we get here?

Read the History of the Modern Workspace on

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

There Is Now An Office Where You're Forbidden From Sitting

Ever since sitting became the new evil, offices have sprouted all sorts of arrangements we would have once considered bizarre: bouncy balls, standing desks, treadmill desks. But none are perhaps as weird—and uncomfortable!—as the Dutch design studio RAAAF's "The End of Sitting" office, a labyrinth of hard slopes where sitting is expressly forbidden.

Take a look at these amazing photos and read this article at

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Office design should focus on people, not just the work they do

Photo Credit: Chris Jagers/Flickr 

With all the chatter about beautiful office design, it would be easy to assume workplaces have come a long way from the days of the cubicle farm. But recent research has shown this may not actually be the case.

In spite of increasing images of attractive workplaces from many large companies, many of today's workplaces are not well designed. Poor workplace design leads to increased conflict and stress, which reduces performance and leads to employees resigning.

Workspace is the second largest overhead for most organisations and can influence productivity by up to 20%. This is why organisations are increasingly exploring ways of using the environment to support performance and innovation.

To accommodate changes in work and the changing needs of workers, the corporate world has seen a significant shift to activity based working or "free addressing".

Read entire article on The Conversation.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Office Furniture That Adapt to the Way We Work

Courtesy of Humanscale

A recent revolution in furniture design responds to the plight of the office worker and is driven by Millennials sucked in by the information superhighway.

We can expect to see more collaborative spaces in newer office spaces, a change driven by the fact that we've become more mobile, said Mesve Varder, a New York-based industrial designer. There are countless devices to check your email with and software to join conference calls remotely. More people are doing work on laptops and tablets, or working from home, Varder said.

Friday, January 23, 2015

How To Create An Open Office That Is More Awesome For Both Introverts And Extroverts

Photo Credit: Gates Foundation, Flickr

Open office layouts can suck but they don't have to. In part two of our office design series, senior editor Anjali Mullany talks with workplace experts about how to turn your collaborative space into super productive real estate. Read this article on

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Herman Miller Highlighted in The Economist Magazine

The Economist magazine's January 3, 2015 issue explores the evolutionary history of the modern office landscape and today’s emerging trends. In its feature article, “Inside the Box: How Workers Ended Up In Cubes—and How They Could Break Free,” Herman Miller is highlighted for its central role in shaping modern office design, beginning with Robert Propst’s Action Office and concluding with an upbeat examination of our Living Office point of view and related design elements. The article can be found in the print edition on newsstands or at

The Good And Bad Of Open Offices: What You Should Know

Photo Credit: Shannon Clark

No matter what you think of them, open layouts are undoubtedly the big thing in office design these days. Open offices promise collaboration, transparency, camaraderie, and that all-too-familiar buzzword, serendipity.

But open offices aren't all what they are made up to be. Read the article on to find out the good and bad, and how to make them work.