The traditional office space and an attitude of respectfulness go hand in hand. Simply look at the regular attire worn by a worker who spends their working time in an office – it is a noticeable step above your usual Saturday getup. But it goes further than this. Specific language is common amongst professionals but so is scheduling time to speak about business matters. The traditional approach to scheduling results in appointments being made and doors remaining closed until the specific time arrives.
In a world where communication has become both instant and real-time, it seems antiquated to uphold this idea of the traditional office. For many, the open-door policy has become the largest benefit they have implemented in as long as they can remember. Change is never easy, especially when it comes to how we interact with others. Author and speaker Brian Tracy spoke to all this, “Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”
While this quote supports the idea of being intentional about communication changes, it does not provide support for the open-door policy itself. Below you will find a variety of benefits of having one.
Table of Contents
Getting Ahead of the Problem
Eric Elggren is the Co-Founder of Andar, a brand offering full-grain leather wallets and handcrafted leather goods. He suggests the ability to cut off issues early on is a massive advantage.
“There are problems which warrant absolute immediate attention due to the severity of their nature. But then there are problems a rung or two below which, in the long term, could pose just as much threat if left unattended. These types of problems can often linger longer than they should simply because there isn’t space or time for them to be communicated. A boss who stays behind a closed door is one who is willfully becoming uninformed. An open door gets you ahead of more problems giving you more options for solving it.”
Many companies have found it useful to incorporate a variety of opinions because it brings different elements to the table. Insured Nomads is a business providing expertise in insurance, healthcare, and technology for those beyond borders. Their COO, Brett Estep, advises this approach.
“The beauty of all of us is that no one person is the same as the next. We look, speak, walk, and most importantly, think, differently than each other. This right here is how businesses around the world are setting themselves apart from the competition. Two people who tackle a problem together are far more likely to come up with a more efficient and effective solution. How do you get this going in the office? One of the best ways is an open-door policy. Doing this will have ideas, solutions, and opinions, literally walking through your door that you would never otherwise see.”
Rate of Communication
Vaster specializes in customizing bridge loan products for domestic and foreign real estate investors. Their Vice President of Bridge Lending, George Fraguio, considers it imperative to introduce an open-door policy as it increases the speed information is relayed.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a potential issue or an exciting new development, I’d venture to guess that as a boss, you want to be made aware of any new information within your company as soon as it is made available. No boss wants to sit in their office with a complete lack of understanding for any aspect of their company. By opening the door to your office on a permanent basis, the rate of communication, as well as the frequency of communication for everything, will only go up. Then, you’re playing with all the cards so to speak and that’s how you get a win.”
Jim Marggraff is the CEO of Kinoo, a brand offering a video chat platform that strengthens family bonds through play. He cautions others against keeping the office door due to how it affects morale.
“To you, keeping your office door shut may be out of the desire for privacy or an environment that makes it easier to focus. Either of these is entirely understandable – managing or running a company is no small feat. But, to those on the other side of the shut door, it may appear aloof and disinterested in the office ongoing. Feelings like this will always bring about distrust which can result in a total disconnect. It’s best to cut this off at the source by propping your door open and moving towards building trust. That open door demonstrates not only that the presence of others is welcome, but also that you have nothing to hide.”
Certain characteristics of business culture continually emphasize professional behavior. TakeUs is a business providing collateral-free NFT rental and mortgage platforms. Their CMO, Loic Claveau, proposes being aware of this.
“You remember those first few months or even years of your career. Most likely, you found yourself in an entry-level position where you felt as if you should only speak when spoken to. This is an incredibly normal experience for so many in the working world. Really, it’s up to the boss to eliminate this part of their company. An open-door policy is a surefire way to get the ball rolling in this regard. After all, if a space for speaking freely doesn’t exist, it just won’t happen.”
AvantStay specializes in lodging, accommodations, event planning, transportation, and travel services. Their Head of Growth, Umer Usman, believes a truly successful open-door policy will allow tangible connections with employees to take place.
“The setting, agenda, and reason for any human interaction have a way of setting the tone for said interaction. This is true in the office. Scheduled meetings are usually accompanied by a feeling of rigidity or professional poise. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it can be necessary. However, if all your interactions with people resemble the example, it may be time to start looking at an open-door policy. This way, organic and real relationships can begin to sprout across the office because interactions with these people are more relaxed.”
Top to bottom, there is more than enough reason to make an open-door policy a staple in your workplace. If anything, it increases the amount of information you receive as a boss which is invaluable. Author and radio host, Dr. Gary Chapman, put it best, “Verbal communication is essential in order to understand what is going on inside other people. If they do not tell us their thoughts, their feelings, and their experiences, we are left to guess.”