In the 6 years I've been working, I've experienced different office configurations: small open space (4 desk hubs), large open space (15 people), office alone and 2 people office. Today, I’m back in a large open space, and feel very tired at the end of the day from the noise and interruptions.
Here are a few strategies I use to survive my days in the open space:
- Be at home at your desk: make sure you have everything around you to keep organized and to take small notes quickly. Also, looking at a picture you like for a few minutes can help you clear your head from the noise and activity going on around you.
- Isolate yourself from the noise: practice your ability to tune out everything around you. Don’t worry about people around you wanting to talk to you: they’ll find a way if it’s important. If you can, put headphones on, without music if you just want others to stop talking to you, or with music to block the noise.
- Say “no”: you don’t have to help everyone and do everything you’re asked to. If you don’t have time, don’t know how to fix your neighbor’s IT issue or are not the right person to do the job, say it!
- Work from home or another work space once in a while: book a meeting room or a quieter space to perform tasks that require all your attention. If you can, work from home once in a while. Your productivity will increase and it will make the open space more bearable.
- Recharge during lunch: do something you like during your lunch: read a book, eat alone or with someone you get along with, eat in a fairly private spot or outside, whichever recharges more your batteries.
- Use your commute time wisely: when going to work, brace yourself for the noise and activity that will take place in your day. When going back home, clear your head from your day and get ready to spend time with your family. Use mood specific playlists to get in the right mindset.
But obviously, the best way to survive the open space is to get a desk in a less crowded space!