5 Tips for Working in an Open Workspace

New business people working in cool office space.

I started my career in an office where we sat at Ikea desks with nothing but a computer, a phone and the folks around you. A few years later, I switched jobs and had a 5th floor office, with a door (that closed!) and a window (with a view of a mountain). I was more productive than I had ever been in my life!

Now that I’m back in the Staffing Industry I am once again in an open-office environment. My current office in a few words – nerf guns, razor scooters, chit chat, ping pong, deals closing, deals falling apart, and phones ringing.

I hope at this point you’re thinking… how does anyone concentrate in that kind of environment?! The truth is – on some days the open workspace is great! We collaborate together, we celebrate together, and we even cope with lost deals together. But when it comes down to it, it’s really not for everyone.

I am often times described as a squirrel. Anytime something happens, my attention immediately changes direction and I am off doing a new task. For someone like me, the open workspace is pure torture some days. Here are 5 ways that I stay on track (or at least try to).

1. Find Your Happy Place
After being here for only 6 months, I would still describe myself as pretty low on the totem pole. I don’t think I’m in a situation to ask for my own office space. I’ve compromised and found a space in another part of our office, away from everyone! IT was kind enough to set me up a computer and a phone, which allows me to do everything I can do at my desk, just in a quieter atmosphere.

2. Silent Disco
It’s like office sign language that when you have headphones on at your desk you are NOT to be bothered. When I am doing work that doesn’t require phone time, I throw on my headphones and try to block out everything going on around me.

3. Communicate
Sometimes people in your office don’t know how you operate your desk. Other people in your office may be fine in their environment, so remember that you have to communicate to your colleagues when you are having blocks of time when you cannot be interrupted.

4. Accountability Partner
Lucky for me, I sit next to my boss, who is also a good friend of mine. I have asked him to help keep me on track. So when he sees me acting like a squirrel, about ready to dodge across the street, he reels me back in. Finding this person to hold you accountable for staying on track is a great way to stay disciplined.

5. Don’t Be Afraid
Some people’s biggest fear in an open workspace is sounding silly on the phone. Sometimes it’s quiet, and you have to negotiate a deal with a client in front of the entire office. Use those opportunities to step up to the plate and allow others to hear. It will help you learn in the long run and you never know when you have a lesson to teach others.

What other advice do you have for working in an open workspace? Comment below or Tweet us @TheDavisCos.

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