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Sleep Pod Policies and More Open Office Quandaries

by Mary Isner / March 14, 2019

It’s time for a few more friendly reminders from Miss Open Office Manners. In this installment, I discuss sleep pods in the open office, open office yoga, and staying healthy during flu season. Enjoy.

Setting Sleep Pod Ground Rules

Dear Miss Open Office Manners: I am in management and my company just acquired two new sleep pods for our open office. Everyone is so excited…everyone except for me. Does this mean I will have to wait for employees to wake up from their afternoon siesta before I can ask them to help me with a project? This is going to get really old really fast. Why would my company do this? What would be a reasonable sleep pod policy?

-- Already Tired of Slumbering Employees

Dear Tired: First of all, if used properly, sleep pods can have a positive impact on the workplace. Catching a few winks can increase productivity during the workday, improve health, and make employees less prone to accidents on the job. That being said, naps should be no more than thirty minutes long and it might be a good idea to make that a policy. More than that could cause lethargy and difficulty waking. You should also stress to your employees to use good judgment. If you find that they aren’t, you could consider a policy that naps have to be pre-approved by a supervisor, depending on workload. For instance, you don’t want someone who is working under a tight deadline to retire to the sleep pod. Try to look at your office’s new sleep pods under a different light. Who knows? One day, you may even decide to head there yourself to recharge your batteries. Everyone at some point can benefit from a little nap! Good luck to you!

Dealing With the Open Office Yogi

Dear Miss Open Office Manners: There is the nicest woman who works in my open office. She is always so calm and peaceful. I think I may know why. She is VERY into yoga. I think that’s great. However, what is not great is how she stretches and poses throughout the day right in front of everyone. It is so distracting. I was trying to work on a spreadsheet yesterday and out of the corner of my eye, I saw her and she resembled a pretzel! I don’t want to hurt her feelings because she is so nice, but how do I get her to stop?

-- Don’t Downward Dog In Front of My Desk

Dear Don’t Down Dog: I too think that’s great that your coworker has found her Zen, but I do understand your dilemma. You mention how nice she is - I think if you approach her in an honest and friendly way, she will understand. Tell her how awesome you think it is that she is so into her yoga, but you find it distracting when she does it out in the open like that. Suggest a more private location where she can go, for instance a meeting room that is not in use. I am sure your colleague will be flexible (see what I did there) to your suggestion.

Staying Healthy in The Open Office Even During Flu Season

Dear Miss Open Office Manners: Can we talk about germs in the open office? Do you have any ground rules for staying healthy in the open office, particularly during flu season?

-- Don’t Achoo Near Me

Dear Don’t Achoo: Open offices have gotten a bad rep for being breeding grounds for germs. But with a little bit of care, you can stay as healthy in an open office as you would in a private office. First, always wipe a shared workstation before (because you can’t be sure if the last person did) and after use. Second, wash your hands! Enough said about that one. Finally, if you are ill, stay home and make sure that work policies encourage sick people to stay home. Telework is a great option for people that are not bedridden but might be contagious. Here’s to your health!

I hope you have found this week’s tips both helpful and enjoyable. Feel free to let me know your open office etiquette pet peeves in the comments below. Here’s wishing everyone a productive and polite open office work environment! Never forget to mind your manners, and for goodness sake, do your sun salutations in private!

Tags: Open Office Design

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Mary Isner

Mary Isner

Mary has a master’s degree in public administration and has worked as a facility planning analyst for Fentress since 2003. In her free time, she enjoys baking, decorating, and spending time with her family.