Thursday, December 6, 2012

Location, Location, Location

Okay, you've arranged your office properly to foster communication. But, is your office accessible to your folks in the first place?

Consider the actual physical placement of your office or cube. Sometimes, upper management likes to have all the managers clustered tightly together—maybe close to the big boss. This "management castle" makes it easy for him to find you when a choking is necessary. But are the majority of your daily communications with your boss and peers? I would take a hard look at myself if I spent more time each day with my boss and fellow managers than I did working with my team members.

Even if, for whatever reason, you did have to spend most of your time talking with your boss and peers, wouldn't you rather be sitting in an area closer to your own team? Being close to the team sends a message about your priorities, and it makes it much easier for your folks to quickly stop by when they need to. Having to walk over to “management row” for a conversation can be a daunting task for an employee, and moving yourself out of convenient reach can give someone another good excuse not to bother trying to communicate with you.

However, even if you have to be a little farther away than you’d like, never reside on a different floor (or different building) than your team. Requiring someone to walk a bit is one thing, but making them use the stairs and elevators is just plain ridiculous. If you're getting to be that far away, or if you manage a remote team, consider using some sort of real-time tool to permit constant communication. Check out something like Sococo. Very cool stuff.

If your boss is in charge of the office arrangements, ask him to consider some of these points to further team communication and effectiveness.

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