The trend of open workspaces is here to stay. Tech giants like Google and Facebook are continually adopting this office technique to encourage collaboration, but some fear that this may actually be harming productivity, especially for those who prefer to work alone.
It’s no secret that open office spaces don’t work for everyone and whilst some roles might require lots of teamwork, others require solitude. Whether you thrive in open plan areas or wish they didn’t exist, there are a few things you can do to increase and maintain productivity every day.
Take Your Breaks Alone
This might seem like an obvious one but it’s amazing how often people ignore it. In open workspaces, you spend all day interacting with other people – even if it doesn’t feel like you are. This can take its toll on your mental health and well-being, especially if you aren’t taking regular breaks to go and be alone.
Too much time in crowded areas can lead to stress both in the office and at home, yet some people still feel the need to break with their co-workers during the working week. Whether it’s a coffee break, lunch break or even a toilet break, don’t feel bad about taking them alone – you’ll feel much better for it.
Try Alternative Seating Arrangements
Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of chopping and changing their seating arrangements. Nonetheless, if you are lucky enough to have an office with moveable furniture, you might want to give alternate seating a go.
Try sitting in a different area of your office or if you have a communal space with comfy seating, try working there. Not everyone can be productive in the same place, some people prefer sitting near a wall, whilst others can work in a more open area. If it’s possible, find out where you work best and it should help you to be more productive.
Don’t have the luxury or moving around your office? If you have a particularly static open plan workspace, it might be worth talking to your manager about the benefits of movable furniture or comfy seating areas. It might cost more to begin with but the increase in productivity will soon help to balance the costs.
Create A Private Space Within Your Area
Whilst it’s near impossible to block out all of the distractions in open workspaces completely, you can rearrange your desk area to help it feel more private. If you’re lucky enough to have any kind of wall around you, trying hanging things on it, (like a coat), as this will help the space to feel more enclosed and shut out some of the distractions around you.
If there aren’t any walls around you, other objects such as plants or photographs can create a more personal space, giving you something else to focus on, rather than the noise around you.
Book A Meeting Room (If You Can)
Most open plan offices also have meeting rooms, where groups can go and discuss ideas away from everyone else. Whilst these rooms are specifically set up for groups, there’s normally nothing stopping you from booking up the room yourself for a couple of hours a day.
Even if it is just a few hours a week, having this alone time can help you to speed through some of your most important tasks, without distraction from the outside world.