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How to survive in an open plan office

Organising your work in an open plan office


The situation: The trouble with open plan offices (and one of their advantages - see tip n°2) is that you're constantly on call. You can end up with a constant stream of people around your desk demanding yes or no answers. Obviously there are times when you need to be on hand, but you can still decide when. 

The solution: "Every day, set aside a time to deal with any unexpected issues", advises Frank Bourdeau. " Place a little sign on your desk saying 'Available from 11am to 1pm for unexpected matters". This might seem a bit strange and unfriendly (especially to Mandy who wants your help because the printer's blocked). But eventually you'll only be disturbed for emergencies outside the time you allocate people. Your colleagues will always find another way round trivial problems. This technique that's been tried and tested by lawyer Judith: "Ever since I've done it, I don't get interrupted any more when I'm in the middle of something important. My colleagues were a bit fazed at first but they've all accepted it and some of them even do the same now!"

Avoid telling your boss to come back later. In the interests of your career/payrise/bonus, it's probably best to smile politely and deal with whatever he/she wants.  


Women in Focus Editor
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