How to Stay Productive in an Open Office Space

Open offices have once been considered signposts of innovation meant to promote collaboration and give a sense of community. Today, however, it turns out that working in an open space office has as many challenges, as it has benefits. The greatest difficulty many open office workers have is to stay focused during office hours and get on top of their daily duties. Looming deadlines and stress inducing work environment can negatively influence performance. Have a look at the list of ideas which will help you stay productive at all times.

Alarming statistics

In his powerful TED talk, Julian Treasure describes the impact different sounds may have on our productivity. He mentions the research conducted by Simon Banbury and Diane C. Berry published in British Journal of Psychology in 1998, which shows that productivity usually falls down by 66{54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c} in an open space office. Treasure claims that noise is one of the biggest factors lowering our ability to work efficiently.

Music is your best friend

If your line of work allows you to listen to music during office hours, make sure you have some soothing tunes handy. The right type of music can help you relax and get all things done. Professionals recommend avoiding music with lyrics. The best choices would therefore include classical music, ambient, and sounds of nature. Additionally, get noise-cancelling headphones for extra comfort.

Ignore distractions

Another drawback of open-plan offices is that you constantly have to deal with negativity of other people. The best advice I can give you is to, by all means, avoid complainers. Their attitude can be pretty toxic for the entire office and may have dramatic effect on your productive capacity. The same goes for workplace gossip – it’s better not to engage in the office grapevine.

Upgrade your personal space

We all know how hard it is to find distraction free zones in an open plan office, therefore you should do all it takes to create one yourself. Your workstation can be easily turned into a calming and motivating Zen space, even if it’s just a small cubicle. The first rule you should keep in mind, is to have your desk organized at all times. You can add a plant or a photo for more personal touch.

Don’t waste time on superfluous tasks

Undeniably, open office environment enhances communication between employees. Sometimes it may work to your advantage, especially when you are stuck with particularly hard task. There is always this special someone, who may give you a helping hand. But there are times when conversations become overwhelming. Try not to waste time on counterproductive chitchats. If you feel like you need a short break, take a walk outside the office. It will help you recharge and get some fresh perspective.

Brainstorm ideas with your colleagues

If all ceaseless attempts at improving situation in a noisy office have met a dead end, there is still one last resort option you can try. You need to remember that if something is bugging you, your work buddies may have the same problem, so keep lines of communication open. Try to share your concerns with others. Working on a problem together will definitely bring your team closer.

Finding peace of mind in a noisy office can be a daunting task, but the above tips may help you keep your productivity at the highest level at all times.


Monique Craig is an Australian blogger and marketing specialist who works for Oneflare, an online marketplace which connects customers with local service providers.



Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.