Friday, August 2, 2013

Keep the door open, please

I've been trying in vain for the past few days to keep our office door open. It's been raining and windy due to a typhoon passing close by. So I wanted to take the chance to leave the door open so that we can get some fresh air in. Our office at site has no windows as it is part of a semi-basement. We have a fan and AC that circulates air. But people keep closing the door when they leave!

I think part of it is because people here grew up in an environment that runs the AC 24/7 during the summer months and therefore feel that closing the door will keep the cool in and conserve energy. But I think part of it is also a cultural issue. As the site team, we're the client's representatives on site. So the contractors give us a certain amount of respect. And therefore, they feel that when they leave our office, they should close the door behind them so that we're not disturbed after they leave. I had a hard time keeping my door open back when I was in my little container as well.

I feel like in the US, there is a lot of literature telling you to keep your door open so that you seem more friendly and open to people wanting to talk about issues. I think in our main office, the directors generally keep their doors open as well but I think that might be due to the very limited number of offices and the entire office is an open plan anyway. So keeping your door closed is just not going with the open plan theme. But our staff is also a mix of local and expats. I wonder what it's like in offices with all local people. Do they keep their office doors closed all the time? Is it a cultural thing or is it really just a practical thing due to having AC?

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