There’s a lot of discussion about the open office and whether it really helps you be more productive in a work environment. In a collaborative situation, it’s easy to see that having easier access to your colleagues could lead to better project collaboration and communication with the team. At the same time, if you need a lot of quiet concentration to get the job done, the open office plan may not be your first choice for an office environment.

If you have never worked in a shared office before, it may take some getting used to. Having a plan to work in the open office with co-workers as well as being able to work alone sometimes is the balance that most workers are looking for.

Here are some ideas to help with productivity if you are having difficulty getting things done in an open office floor plan or open collaborative office.

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#1. Create a Quiet Zone

Create a Quiet Zone

Create a virtual space or imaginary wall that allows work to get done without giving in to distractions. It’s not an actual wall, so it only exists as long as you need it to. One easy way to do this is by using headphones. With today’s noise cancelling technology, it’s possible to block out all surrounding noise by using the right set of noise cancelling headphones. Noisy neighbor? Problem solved.


#2. Create a Do Not Disturb Attitude

Create a Do Not Disturb Attitude

It’s not that you want to block out all your co-workers and be anti-social. If you collaborators know you are working and don’t like to be disturbed at certain times or while working on specific tasks, they will learn to respect your serious attitude about getting things done. Who knows, it might be contagious. It also helps to learn when the office may be quieter at certain times of the day, or days of the week. Perhaps avoiding the times when the most talkative people are socializing at the office might be the way to go.


#3. Have a Shared Collaboration Space

Have a Shared Collaborative Space

Instead of having an open collaboration space of anyone’s desk that might be available, create a shared space that is meant for collaboration, such as a table or small conference room. It’s important to continually share ideas in a open office, but it doesn’t have to mean all of your work time is spent in collaboration. It’s good to have a shared space meant just for sharing ideas, which can keep time at the desk less interrupted.


The design of the open office space looks like it’s here to stay. For companies that thrive in a shared or cooperative environment, such as technology or creative ventures, being able to easily share ideas is essential. But, the open office environment comes with challenges as well, such as having time to focus in solitude.

Let these 3 tips be your guide as you start to navigate the open-office environment.

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