More companies, both old and new, are shifting toward open office layouts that forgo the traditional cubicles and corporate furniture in favor of more collaborative meeting areas and ergonomic workstations. There are many positives to open offices, including the health benefits of ergonomic desks, but this layout can sometimes be more distracting for employees. If noise level becomes a problem, there are some great ways employees can overcome distractions and be incredibly productive in an open work environment.
Listening to Music
It may sound counterintuitive to block out noise with a different type of noise, but in many cases, music can actually enhance work performance. The reason why office noise is so distracting is because it’s out of your control, making you feel less motivated to work. When your coworkers start up a conversation around you, it’s an unexpected noise that will break your concentration and become a distraction. You do have control over the music you listen to—the type that is played and the volume level. Music allows you to set up a controlled work environment for you to produce in. Classical or instrumental music is often the best type to work to. However, it’s best to avoid music if you are trying to absorb and retain new information.
Get to Work Earlier/Stay Later
If you’re the type of worker who just needs peace and quiet to work, consider changing your work hours so that you come in a little earlier or leave a little later. Discuss with your supervisor to see if this is an option, but those extra hours can prove quite useful. Many employees tend to arrive at work around the same time and then leave at the same time. Working either before or after most people arrive will ensure a peaceful work environment. Noise will be at a minimum and you’ll have fewer interruptions. Take advantage of that time and tackle the most important work first.
Do Not Disturb Signs
The rest of your office doesn’t know what you have on your plate, so when people from other departments are talking, they may not realize that you are working furiously to hit a deadline. Your boss may know to leave you alone, as well as your other team members, but the rest of the office doesn’t. So it’s okay to set up a visual signal to notify your coworkers when they need to be respectful of your work area. Consider crafting a sign to either sit or hang on your desk only during times when you really need to focus. It should only serve as a visual indication of your workload and it shouldn’t be disrespectful toward your employees. But if done the right way, you can get hours of undisturbed work time.
If you have an open office environment or looking to go in that direction, our standing desks are a perfect addition to that environment. Read about how ergonomic office desks can enhance employee performance and check out the different standing desks we offer.