A funny smell, a new starter, or maybe even just an overly loud phone conversation, the list of things that can distract you in an open-plan office is practically endless.
While they are great for communication and interaction, open-plan offices can be full of interruptions, making them an extremely hard place to concentrate.
Here are some tips that can help.
Block out the noise
Open-plan offices can be loud and distracting. Sometimes you will just need to get away from the noise and create your own little work bubble.
Invest in a pair of good noise-cancelling headphones. They will be a life-saver when you’re trying to get through a last-minute project before the weekend. A good pair will set you back a pretty penny but it will totally be worth it.
Establish your boundaries
A study published in Applied Psychology found that people who sought help performed better at work than those giving help to others. Alternating between helping others and doing your own workload will ultimately slow you down because you will have to reacquaint yourself with your project every time you return to it.
So, how do you stop this? Set aside a few hours every day when you don’t want to be disturbed and stick to it. Don’t let people get into the habit of just casually popping by your desk for advice. Set the boundaries early on and people will respect them.
Do one thing at a time
You might think you’re a great multitasker but the truth is that if you want a job completed to a high standard then you need to give it your full attention. Write a to-do list every morning and work through it one thing at a time. Do not be tempted to attack multiple projects at once. Concentrating on one task at a time will help you to stay focused and you will end up working through your list much quicker.
Do group work in designated areas
Having separate areas for solitary and group work will help your brain to switch between the two. Never hold meetings at your desk where your attention should be completely focused on your work. Instead, offer to meet people in meeting rooms or designated group spaces.
Have a quiet space
If the noise-cancelling headphones just aren’t enough then every office should have somewhere that you can go to completely escape the hustle and bustle. Book a boardroom, or find a quiet phone booth where you can properly concentrate, even if it’s just for a few moments.