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7 Ways to Stay Focused in an Open Office

By Jake Nordquist   |    October 1, 2018   |    12:38 PM

Struggling to Focus in an Open Office? These Tips Will Help

Open offices make it easier to collaborate with colleagues and can even help foster creativity, but sometimes you just need to focus. If you work in an open office or a shared co-working space, learning how to filter out distractions might be the most valuable skill you can learn this year.  

Intelligent Office offers private, locked offices available hourly that will be the quietest, most work-appropriate options available. But if you're trapped in an open environment without the level of productivty afforded by Intelligent Office, grab your noise-cancelling headphones (a key survival tool), and keep reading to learn how to transform your open office into the next best thing to a private hourly office.

1. Make a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign

Open office workers around the world have had their workdays derailed by innocent questions and comments from colleagues. Show the office that you’re in deep focus mode with a simple ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. You can make your own, or purchase pre-made signs (these desktop flip signs have 24 messages to choose from).

2. Use plants to increase privacy

Plants aren’t just for decor — they’re also a great, non-permanent way to add some more privacy to an open office workspace. Greenery won’t block out noise, but reducing visual distractions can help you focus better.

3. Headphones on, music off

Some people love using music to stay focused and increase productivity. But, if you prefer complete silence, remember that noise-cancelling headphones can be used without music. Simply turn on the noise cancelling feature and get back to work.

4. Switch up your schedule

Try moving your work schedule to avoid the office’s busiest times. If you can get to the office early (or later, after everyone has settled in for the day), you’ll have more time to work without interruptions. Employers, this can be a welcome perk to offer employees, too.

5. Schedule quiet hours

This one requires some coordination with everyone in the office, but designating “quiet hours” can be a highly effective means of encouraging individual focus. Alternatively, label specific spaces in the office as chatter-free zones.

If you work from a coworking space, you could try to get the rest of the office on board — your fellow co-workers might even appreciate the effort.

6. Take advantage of unused conference rooms

Most open offices have conference rooms and other meeting spaces. You’ll have to confirm that the room isn’t already booked, or book that Intelligent Office room, but these spaces are perfect for anyone who needs to get away from the open office hustle and bustle.

7. Learn to say, “I’m busy right now”

In an open office, it’s easy to take advantage of every opportunity for conversation, especially when someone has a work-related question. Unfortunately, open office hacks and tips for staying focused aren’t helpful if you aren’t skilled at enforcing them. Oftentimes, the best way take back your focus is a simple, “I’m busy right now, can we schedule a time to talk later?”

Or skip all of these steps and come into an Intelligent Office near you for the most productive, professional hourly office around!