How to Focus in an Open Office Environment

If your office considering changing to an open office, you may have to make some changes in the way you are able to focus. Studies have found that changing the office set up can drastically change the culture within the workplace. Approximately 70 percent of offices in the United States have no or low partitions according to the International Facility Management Association.

Open offices do have their pros

  • An office without walls for individual offices is more cost effective and flexible with available space
  • Open areas are more feasible for employee expansion
  • Increased natural lighting from the open space, and almost everyone has a view of a window
  • Promotes transparency and fairness
  • Increased communication and a higher likelihood of chance meetings

Open offices can also have their drawbacks, including loss of focus because of factors like increased noise, decreased privacy.

How can you improve your focus in this type of environment?

  • Think about how sound affects your ability to focus, and if that means you will want to utilize headphones for music, headphones for noise cancelation, or ear plugs to block out ambient noise.
  • Personalize your space to work for you and your needs. For example, request a desk in an area off to the side if you need more privacy.
  • Request to utilize an empty conference room or office for times when you really need to block out noise.
  • Block out times for meetings to avoid having more frequent interruptions

“People’s voices and phone calls are the two most distracting sounds, and they’re extremely prevalent in an open office. Our brains can only manage 1.6 conversations at one time.”  -renowned sound expert Julian Treasure

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