Coping in an open office

Is coping in an open office possible while keeping your sanity?   Shared office spaces save companies money, but only if employees are able to concentrate and thrive. Today’s open office environments are designed to encourage collaboration and workflow, but many studies suggest they are not as effective . Here are a few tips to help you navigate in an open environment.

image of an open office environment

Coping in an open office-be a good neighbor

Don’t have loud conversations at your desk, either on the phone or in person.  Instead, take meetings or private conversations to another location  When it’s lunch time, make sure your food is not a smelly distraction for your neighbors.  Make sure your workspace is kept neat and treat your neighbors as you’d like to be treated.

Drown out the noise

Coping in the open office means avoiding distractions that can come in many varieties.  Interruptions by coworkers who stop by and people passing by can steal your focus.  Even people having conversations near your desk can break your concentration. Finding an effective sound barrier can help alleviate the distractions around you. Bring headphones and take advantage of white noise, nature sounds or your favorite music.

Make time for breaks

People sitting in open office environments tend to keep the same position more frequently than those in cubicles. Since prolonged sitting isn’t good for you, make plans to have frequent small breaks. You could stand at your desk, take a short walk or do some stretches. Give yourself a break from the screen to help avoid eye strain.

Create privacy in your workspace

There’s a definite feeling of being under the microscope in the open office environment. It may seem harder to take care of personal business or even quickly check your Facebook. Take advantage of your breaks to handle personal matters in another location. Many companies with open environments have phone booth rooms for this use. Take your laptop to an unused meeting room and work a portion of your day from there.  It might also be beneficial to arrange occasional days to work from home if you need less distraction.

Taking advantage of coping strategies while in your open office can reduce the stress level and help you make the most of the environment.