To Close or Not to Close Your Office Door

When your name is on the door, how do you decide on personal “door management” style?

When you find yourself situated in your own work office for the first time, you may wonder about office etiquette, when it comes to conducting business there. How do you enjoy the freedom of your own office without being rude or sending the wrong message?

Some people find it difficult to work with their door open, especially if they’re distracted easily by talkative coworkers or office hubbub. If they’re new to the job, they may think it’s a good idea to keep their office door open, so they can introduce themselves to coworkers who walk by -even if they appreciate some privacy during the day. When is it okay to close the door and work in peace and when is it more appropriate to leave the door open?

Office Culture

Pay attention to what the culture of your office is and take cues from what you learn. Workers in some offices almost never close their doors unless they’re in there firing someone. In other offices, people close their door every time they take a phone call. Observe how your office conducts business and plan your “door management” accordingly.

Office Door Politics

  • No need to worry about making eye contact, smiling, or saying hello every time someone walks by your open door. You are most likely expected to focus on your work, and no one expects you to greet all passersby.
  • A closed door will signal that you’re unavailable for interruptions, so keeping it closed all the time will send that signal. Close your office door only when you specifically need to, like during a sensitive phone conversation, need to use speaker phone or need for more-intense-than-usual focus.
  • If you are a new employee, keeping your door open most of the time is a signal to others that you’re approachable – for the first three or four months. People will feel freer to get to know you and your work ethic and wonder less what you’re doing in there, if the door is constantly closed. After that, you’ll have a better sense of how to conduct yourself when it comes to your office door.

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