Purpose of Open Door Policy
This policy is put in place to ensure that every employee is accessible, reachable and welcomes communication. Open Door Policy is a policy that can be adapted to your needs. It is flexible in nature, in that, if you need to have a confidential call – you can, with your judgement, close your private space’s door.
The policy will cover the basics of the open door policy, some dos and dont’s, along with how to ensure you are using this well. An open-door policy is in place to encourage communication, and we must be wary that too much is also not a good thing, in the workplace.
This policy is to be taken literally and figuratively. What we mean by the open door is that managers and employees should encourage and indulge in relevant conversations. This does not just limit to in-person but also on text, messaging apps, internal communication and so on.
Our wish is that this policy works cross-level and cross-department. We encourage and support mission-driven, forward-looking conversations while we are on our path to betterment.
Open Door Policy elements
When it comes to open-door policy, we would aspire that this follows through for all situations that occur during your workday and work span, such as:
- Asking for counselling
- Ask for a resolution to a previously raised issue
- Discuss personal topics
- Safety and harassment issues
Responsibilities on both parties end
As the open door policy is liberating and allows for freedom of communication channels, we do have to state that etiquette is to be maintained at all times.
This can be displayed in ways such as:
- Asking for a meeting and time slot
- Listening with compassion and empathy
- Asking for permission to divulge personal information to other members who weren’t in the meeting
- Try and resolve conflicts at the same level, within a reasonable time. Escalate only if matters have reached a standstill or standoff.
More in detail:
Set parameters around the open door
An open-door policy and implementation has to be done in order to encourage conversation, and must never be taken for granted.
Every individual at the office has the right to set parameters, according to what works for them.
Some rules that can be set in order to ensure there is privacy, yet openness:
- If the door is open, walk-ins are welcome to discuss workplace issues and matters of concern. If the door is closed, please set an appointment on the calendar.
- If there is an emergency that could impact more than just you, and can be hazardous, knock on the respective person’s door. If the person isn’t inside, call or find the respective person immediately.
How to have an effective conversation
Everyone’s time is valuable and should be respected within business working hours. To have an effective conversation
- Set an agenda, and if suitable, share it before the meeting
- During the meeting, only speak objectively. If you wish to conceal a person’s name for confidentiality, you may
- Find solutions and suggest them during the meeting
If the matter is a prolonged one
It is not uncommon to have weekly catch-ups with a manager. This must be done in adherence to both your calendars. Ensure you ask, before blocking time on a calendar.
Valuing the time of people
Time is something we are all fighting against. With meetings, deadlines and commitments – how you split and divide your time, is crucial. We all have the same 24 hours. Therefore, it is important when implementing an open-door policy, that individuals know who’s the right person to talk to. There’s no point in talking to multiple people or stakeholders if the problem is to be dealt with one person.
In terms of the hierarchy of conversation
- If it is a workplace issue, with a colleague, that is affecting your work or comfort within the office space – talk to the manager of the department
- If the issue is to do with psychological and physical safety, talk to the HR department
- If the matter is momentary and needs some temporary adjustment – talk to the manager and then, via him/her, address the HR department
- If the issue involves a senior member of staff – talk to HR directly to maintain the confidentiality of the issue.