MANY work environments are now open and fewer companies provide offices, even for managers. This has many challenges and can decrease productivity. However, there are a few simple things you can do to make the most of this environment.

Keep your desk clean

Get rid of all unnecessary paper as it is a distraction. Neat desks are important for overall presentation and a clear-desk policy will help you to be more organised and, therefore, productive.

This is also good for company security, as it will ensure that you don’t leave important documents on your desk. Keep your paperwork and any other items within your desk area. If you need more space use the area under your desk and not the walkways.

Don’t yell

Walk over to someone’s workstation or use your e-mail or phone. Other people don’t need to hear your conversation.

Turn down the volume

The constant noise of desk phones and mobile phones can be distracting if someone is trying to complete a project. Be considerate. Turn down the volume of your desk phone.

Select a mobile phone ringtone that won’t annoy others around you. Answer your neighbour’s phone if this is appropriate. If you are going to be away from your desk for a prolonged period of time, have your office phone number diverted to your mobile phone.

Get headphones

Headphones ensure that your choice of music won’t disturb your colleagues. Headphones are also a great way to show other people you are working on something and don’t want to be disturbed.

Book a meeting room

Be considerate. If you want to have a discussion, choose a space that won’t impact on others.

Your group will have the privacy it wants and you won’t distract the rest of the office. If you are using a meeting room or the boardroom, tidy it up before you leave so that it is spick-and-span for the next group.

Take a message

Take a message and e-mail the details to the relevant person immediately, as pieces of paper may go missing.

Less is better

It is natural to want to personalise your space, so there’s no harm in putting a family photo or two on the desk.

But don’t overdo it. You want your workstation to look professional, not a showcase of your life.

Keep your voice down

If your voice tends to carry, if it is naturally loud or has a unique tone, be aware of its volume, as it may disturb your co-workers.

Consideration and cooperation are key ingredients in an open-plan work environment.

Try these simple tips to keep the peace.