Postdate: 09 October 2017
An open office space makes you more creative and more communicative. But is this true? Prior research has shown that an open office, or office garden, is killing for your ability to concentrate. Use your focus in the best possible way today by applying these tips.
1. Close yourself off (temporarily)
There is not much you can do about ambient noise and talking colleagues, especially when you are in an open-plan space. This means more distraction and stimuli that enter your system. When ambient noises bother you very much, you can temporarily put on headphones to mute the sounds or to listen to specific music. Some types of music have shown that they improve your focus.
2. Take more short breaks
Short breaks are good in two ways: to get a moment's rest after a short period of effort and to get a better focus just before you start on an important task. In the end, no one is able to perform optimally for 8 hours a day. So be sure to walk around regularly and use your lunch break to get some air.
3. Work at a different spot
When you work allows you to do this, choose a different spot to work every now and then, such as a private room if it is available. This will not just make you more productive, it is also good for your creativity. A win-win situation!
4. Plan your working hours
Moments of hard work are sometimes alternated with short, spontaneous (read: distracting) brainstorm sessions or urgent meetings. So it may happen that you have to block your morning in the online agenda for one or two important 'to do' things, so you have the freedom to have discussions in the afternoon. Tell your colleagues so you will be disturbed as little as possible. Initiatives such as ABB Flowlight (a 'do not disturb' light) and the Helmfon already offer solutions to this problem.
5. Ask for peace and quiet
Is the noise around you too distracting, or is it your own phone that seems to be buzzing non-stop? Are other colleagues having the same issues? Then you can get together and agree on a silent morning or afternoon per week/month. In Belgium they are already experimenting with Silent Tuesdays; high time we are going to do the same in the Netherlands.
Be the change you want to see. Not everyone benefits from complete silence, but most people also don't want to be interrupted very often. So if you want to change something about your work environment, it is important to keep your own personality and those of your colleagues in mind.