Are you loud, do you interrupt or worse, are you one of the great unwashed?

Are you loud, do you interrupt or worse, are you one of the great unwashed?

If you have worked in an open-plan office, no doubt at some point you’ve experienced sitting next to the office clown, a regular body odour offender or the person with the voice like an amplified foghorn! These traits are all often the source of much dissatisfaction and irritation, but open-plan working can be managed well, if you take time to get it right.

Here’s Jaluch’s top 10 open-plan office offenders and how to manage them successfully:

The Great Unwashed

Not an easy topic for any manager to handle, but it’s an issue that crops up surprisingly often!

The Slobs

These are the people who tramp muck into the workplace, eat biscuits over the keyboards, operate a filing system called ‘pile it high’ and believe that cups wash themselves by magic at the end of each day.

The Feeders

Often the feeders are some of the most popular people in the office. These people bring food in most days. They believe that food, in the form of pastries, cakes, buns, biscuits and sweets are the route to happiness and harmony.

The Interrupters

These are the people who think a thought and then shout it out. The people who walk up to your desk, totally ignore the fact that you appear to be concentrating and who then just start talking to you about their problem.

The Loud Ones

These are the people who have naturally loud voices and who inadvertently prevent anyone else from concentrating, or being able to hear what someone on the phone is saying to them. The loud ones are often unaware that their voice is as penetrating as it is, or that their voice carries and, as a result, disturbs others.

The Emailers

These are the people who work in an open-plan office but who have lost the use of their legs and voices.

The Desk Grabbers

These are the people who wait for a colleague to resign or go on maternity leave and who then grab the better desk for themselves.

The Disrupters

These people enter the office with a flurry, they march up and down, they talk loudly on their phones. They also bring energy into the room, but along with it mayhem and disruption.

The Clique

These people like to form their own little tribe bang in the middle of your open plan office.

The ‘Eau de’ Overwhelming

These people have no clue as to the powerful impact their morning (and lunchtime) dose of eau de cologne or Lynx has on others.

As with all these other open plan office challenges, it’s time for the manager to step up, take a deep breath and tackle this head on. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and clearly someone needs to say something! Show respect, but be clear about what the problem is and what you expect the employee to do differently.

To read Helen Jamieson’s report in full go to:

Helen is MD of Jaluch (HR and Training Consultancy) -