Are you one of the unfortunate victims of a business that decided to “modernize” their office by switching to an open-plan layout? Designers, managers, and business owners are worshiping the trending, cost-saving open office plan, however, they are not the ones working in a crammed, Relx Vape, distracting environment for eight hours a day. How is this system going to encourage teamwork and collaboration if everyone immediately puts headphones over their ears as soon as they sit down in their office chair? So, really this genius solution is backfiring and creating exactly the opposite of collaboration. People are uncomfortable and inefficient in this type of floor plan.

However, if the office transformation has already been completed and you’re stuck at a long, crowded table of employees where the only space that you can call yours is your desk chair, then you’ll just have to make the most of it. After all, this seems like a better solution than spending every single work day moping around and miserable over something that you can’t change.

First of all, maybe try making it through an entire work day without the headphones. Collaborate with your coworkers, take advantage of what the open floor plan was meant to do. There must be a reason that your managers or business owners want you to collaborate with each other; I hope. If you have similar job positions with your coworkers or you’re all working on the same project, working together may generate a better result. So, give it a try. But, have a quiet business discussion. Don’t yell over each other because you are still working in a shared space with other people trying to get work done.

If you do need a quiet space to work individually, hopefully your company has at least created a quiet area, silent working room, or a few individual pods or offices to be used when necessary. But, make sure what you’re working on really is an individual project before you seclude yourself for no reason. Either way, try your hardest to avoid using headphones for a whole day. Who knows, it may actually pay off.

As you already know if you work in an open-plan office, storage space is limited. You’re not in your own private cubicle where it doesn’t matter if your desk is a total mess as long as you can function and get your work done in it. You’re in a shared space now. You can’t throw crumbled up sticky notes and file folders all over the shared table. So, do everyone a favor and throw away old papers and notes that you no longer need. Make sure your folders organized and in a work bag. Do majority of your work online, if possible. The least amount of paper and office materials you use, the better. You’ll have less to carry around and your small amount of desk space won’t be as crowded and disorganized. Plus, you’ll be doing all your coworkers a favor as well.

Emily

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