The Public and Glass Partitions

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about hearing customers:

We have problems at work hearing our customers as there is a glass partition between. We have conversations with the general public but find it hard to hear so we have to talk much louder. A few of our staff have ear problems, possibly that can be the cause.

Signed, What’s That You’re Saying?

Dear What’s That You’re Saying?:

Your annoyance springs from our glass society; one that seeks protection from its public. One rant you might scan concludes with “Glass society: have sledgehammer, will shatter” http://archive.truthout.org/glass-society-the-partitioning-prisoning-and-privatizing-public-life59213. Ideally there is no glass between us; yet there are good reasons for some glass partitions. Such barriers are especially frustrating for those with disabilities of hearing, sight and/or of a physical nature. Obviously, to serve your public your staff needs to hear what is spoken to you and by it to them. You don’t say if there is an opening in the glass partition. I assume there is in order to receive and send written messages or money. You say that some staff have hearing problems, but you imply that all of you tend raise your voices so that you might be heard.

Apparently that’s the way you each individually try to deal with this glass barrier. You don’t say how long this has been a problem nor do you say if your staff has discussed problem or brought it to management. This is important enough that it should be on your agenda. Finding a solution to this important communication problem determines the effectiveness of your staff, and it should collaboratively addressed. Your goal is to facilitate communication. Some of the issues that might be researched are:What is the purpose of the glass partition? How common and serious is the problem?Is it a problem for only some employees and customers? Do similar work organizations have the same or different partition arrangements?

Might there be technology that could facilitate communication with the public? Do customers have difficulty in making themselves heard? Of course management is responsible for seeing that communication with your public is effective and it should be informed that your staff is investigating. Once your staff has made a reasonable effort to answer such questions, its recommendation should be presented to management. I predict that you will find ways to lessen the difficulties you are experiencing. Working on such issues is integral to your overall effort to improve the quality of service. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and of course that includes how you communicate. Will you update us of your findings?

William Gorden