For the last several months I noticed that Kelly has been leaving his door open all throughout the day – even when he is in meetings or at lunch. In my last two years of working at Jenco I’ve never known him to have his door open all day – he’d shut it during meetings or when he was super busy, but now it’s open 90% of the time. So I asked him, what gives?
Turns out he’d read an article a few months back about the impact of keeping doors open in the workplace and he’d been conducting his own little study. Kelly shared with me that if we keep our doors open it creates a more relaxed atmosphere, that people don’t get nervous when others are in talking to the boss, and it allows others the opportunity to peek in and say, “Got a minute?”
After my conversation with Kelly he challenged me to do some research and share my findings.
There are a few great reasons why to keep your door open –
If your door is open people will be more likely to stop in when they need something.
I must admit I hate bothering my fellow colleagues when their door is shut. I’ve always felt that if their door is closed, it must mean they don’t want to be bothered. It’s intimidating. So if I needed something and the door was closed I often sat on whatever the issue was, or tried to figure it out another way. (For those of us studying LEAN – what a waste of non-utilized talent, and talk about excess processing!)
I’ve found that keeping my door open has allowed me to learn about things that were happening within our company that I would have never known if my door had been closed. If people feel like they can drop in, they will, especially if they need your opinion on an issue they are having. These conversations are a great opportunity for you to gain a better understanding of what’s happening within the company.
Quick Access to Information
People who shut their doors are really closing themselves out from the rest of the company, because people don’t feel like they can come and talk to them. This results in emails, lots and lots of emails.. (Again, waste of….. motion, transportation and excess processing). It’s so much faster (and easier) to just walk down the hall and ask a question, but if the door is closed many resort to email.
Great example – There were a few of us meeting in Kelly’s office a few weeks back and Kelly said, “Get with Joe this week about xyz.” Kelly’s door was open during the meeting and it turns out Joe’s was as well because he popped in towards the end of our meeting and gave me the information I needed. Awesome!
Open doors create a relaxed workplace. No one has to wonder what others are talking about, or get anxious when their called into the principal’s (I mean boss’) office. There are no super-secret meetings going on, which reduces anxiety, lowers the intimidation factor and makes everyone more approachable. We are a transparent company to all of our customers – including our employees.
So how have I done keeping my door open? I’ve noticed I get more done because my door is open 98% of the time. I definitely noticed that I have people in my office a lot, but I’m getting a lot accomplished in a shorter amount of time.
I’ve also gotten into the habit of walking to whoever I need to speak with for a few minutes instead of sending an email. In the last month or so, I’ve noticed my fellow colleagues doing the same.
Lastly, in the last few months I’ve learned a lot about the people I work with and the company. I’ve been able to partake in projects and give my input on things that I wouldn’t have even known about if my door was closed.
So now I challenge you – purposefully make yourself available and transparent to those you work with by keeping your door open. Something so simple could have such a deep impact on your work life.