Optimize the Open Office

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An open office can be a nightmare when it comes to noise — especially when you’re working on something that requires your undivided attention.

To get the focus you need, talk to your team to sync up expectations about how you can all work optimally. Try these:

  • Develop some ground rules. For example, you all might agree that when one colleague is on the phone, everyone else will only whisper.

  • Invest in noise-canceling headphones. They not only drown out unwanted noise, but also serve as a visual cue that you don’t want to be disturbed.

  • Scout out a private, quiet space — say, an underused conference room — that will allow you to write and think when you truly can’t be interrupted.

  • Finally, if noise is still a problem, ask your manager about moving to a new desk. Don’t lodge complaints about your talkative coworkers; be positive and tell your boss that you’ll be more productive in another space.

How do you optimize the open office plan?