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How to Stay Productive in Your Open-Plan Office Space


shared-office-planAs more workplaces embrace open spaces, workers are faced with the issue of distracting noise in the office. While coworking and collaborative office layouts can help foster creativity and provide opportunities to connect across teams, the increase in distractions disrupt your focus. How can you rise above the din? Here are some useful tips to keep the collaborative spirit of your open workspace without sacrificing your productivity.

Managing Distractions

Some of the best ways to eliminate noise are to make use of spaces that are versatile enough to manage noisier activities alongside productive spaces. Encourage people to take lunch hours out to more sheltered common areas or even outside of the office. Reserve separate spaces for meetings even for small groups of people so that the others around you are not disturbed by conversation.

Alternatively, if the office setup is an open working space or a coworking area where conversation is abundant, try allotting a time for “quiet working”, perhaps for an hour a day for noise reduction.

Headphones are popular in open environments, but can be a double edged sword. Research shows that listening to instrumental or classical music without lyrics can help maintain focus, and that even listening to a familiar song on repeat can help you dial in. Faster beats and louder instruments can help you stay energized and productive in the mornings.

Despite the benefits, sometimes people feel that headphone use can put up an invisible wall between you and other employees, so often times it can be better to listen to music strategically rather than all the time.

Dynamic is Better than Open

Physical elements of a workspace can also do a great deal to manage noise in an office. Carpeting, dampens noise between floors, and cubicles lined with carpet fabric can achieve the same purpose. Designing spaces so that employees can make use designated space for group meetings or recreation can help mitigate the noise of an open office.

At AdvantEdge, we consider all of these factors when designing our spaces. With the added caveat of catering to dozens of different companies in each location, we face issues of noise pollution and sound dampening every day. Our experience has shown us that the key to any open workspace is having versatile spaces nearby that can accommodate noisier or more focused activities as necessary.

For example, at our L Street location, extra space includes a dedicated business lounge with separate day offices, a large kitchen space with seating and tables, private telephone booths built for conversation, as well as a meditation room for relaxation and wellness purposes.

Different employees prefer different office space styles, and different companies have different interpretations of what an open workspace truly means. Striking a balance between creating a collaborative yet focused environment is everything, so use these tips when you need to turn down the office volume and turn up the productivity!

Written by Sara Bucknam

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