How to Make the Most Out of Working in an Open Plan Accounts Payable Office
by Jamie Radford
Working in an open plan environment can be challenging, especially during times of intense pressure and stress so common within the AP industry. On the other hand, it can also be an excellent opportunity to collaborate with colleagues who work in the accounts payable department, as well as other teams who deal with the financial operations of your organisation.
Being able to thrive in an open plan office is a goal that many modern-day employees strive to achieve, particularly as more businesses are implementing these types of office in a bid to cut costs while encouraging team bonding amongst peers.
Some of us love them and some of us hate them. Some of us even love to hate them! Whichever camp you fall into, here’s how you can make the most out of working in a shared office environment, even if you feel you work better in your own space…
Increase Collaboration and Productivity
We can all relate to wasting precious time at work mulling over problems in our head, or second-guessing something. More often than not, people are reluctant to take up the time of their colleagues by phoning or emailing them for advice. An open plan office is the perfect opportunity for you to build a stronger rapport with your AP co-workers and the best part is, you will be able to physically see when someone is busy or when they potentially have time to give you some verbal advice or look over a task you’ve been working on but aren’t sure about.
Find Out Useful Information and News in a Non-Invasive Manner
No one wants to walk into a meeting and end up being the only person who isn´t aware of the latest advancements or achievements within a company. And, in addition to this, no one wants to be known as the inquisitive gossip who is always asking questions to keep on top of office politics and current events. An open plan environment will allow you to keep up with the latest industry news just by sitting at your desk and you can then make a note to incorporate the factual information you have gathered into your own work, thus demonstrating your knowledge and ability to be forward thinking – and potentially moving up the AP ladder more quickly!
Become More of a Team Player
99% of employers will be looking for someone who is a team player to join their organisation and working in an open plan office is a gateway of opportunity with regards to improving your collaboration skills. It is much easier to work together on a project when you are all physically present and you will find that your ability to delegate and complete certain tasks efficiently will improve substantially.
Take Advantage of Word of Mouth Recommendations
Regardless of the industry you are in, people love to talk! Word of mouth marketing is proven to be one of the most effective forms of getting recommended for a promotion, or even a new position. If your colleagues see how hard you work, how helpful you can be and what you are especially good at, they will start to recommend your expertise to others, including your AP Managers and Team Leaders. Or hopefully they are in the same open plan office and can see for themselves! Oftentimes, a co-working space will be occupied by employees of levels, so the person sat next to you or behind you could just be the one to recommend you for a promotion.
Safeguard Yourself Against Distractions
For all of its advantages, a shared working space can also have its cons. For example, you might be on a tight deadline and really need peace and quiet to focus, whilst your colleagues might be discussing the latest episode of their favourite TV programme. A great way to overcome distractions at work is to invest in a set of good quality noise blocking headphones, which have become somewhat of a universal sign for “do not disturb, I’m busy.” This takes the social pressure off, as you won’t have to ask your colleagues to leave you alone or to keep the noise down. If you find it hard to focus whilst listening to music, many people simply listen to “white noise” on one of the many available apps.
As you strengthen your social connection with your fellow employees, it will become easier to come up with a set of group rules or boundaries. Think of it as a code of conduct that you can all agree on, so that everyone is clear on what is acceptable and what is not and this “code of conduct” will help minimise frustration amongst your team whilst simultaneously supporting productivity and collaboration.
Open plan accounts payable offices really can be fantastic teamworking, productive spaces or they can be the bane of your day. Hopefully these tips will help to make things a little better if you feel the latter!