Have you recently moved from a cubicle to an office? You may be wondering how to deal with external office noise and protocol when closing your door during the day.
In a letter to Ask A Manager’s Allison Green, a reader asks about office etiquette when it comes to working with your door open or closed. Green’s advice: better to keep it open.
A closed door will signal that you’re unavailable for interruptions, so keeping it closed as the default isn’t a good idea. Rather, in most offices you should close it only when you specifically need to — like when you’re having a sensitive phone conversation, or need to use speaker phone for some reason and don’t want to disturb others, or when you have a particular need for more-intense-than-usual focus.
Even if you struggle to concentrate with loud office noises, Green maintains that an open office door is the best policy during the first few months at a new company: “Because people don’t know you and your work ethic yet, it can be disconcerting to have a new person shutting their door significantly more than most of their coworkers do.”
Ultimately, Green suggests you take your cues from the already existing office culture. If most people leave their door open most of the time, it’s wise to act similarly.