As if hearing your coworker blowing his nose over the wall of the cubicle wasn’t bad enough.  Now, there’s no wall, and you have to see it, too!  Doesn’t quite meet your expectations of professionalism?  Whether you’re the boss, who’s just decided to move to an open workspace floor plan, or you’re the employee, who’s found yourself in the midst of one, this arrangement, like any, comes with pros and cons.  Despite the unusual seating arrangement, business must continue as usual, so embrace the idea and learn how to maintain your productivity.

The open workspace design was introduced as a way to increase collaboration and communication among team members.  If you work in an open workspace, chances are it’s for that very reason.  You work closely with others, you like people, and you’re an expert communicator.  In order to keep those positive attributes, you’ll need to learn to embrace your new space.

Follow these guidelines, and you’ll have a better chance of remaining productive and maintaining job satisfaction.

  1. Set Clear Expectations.  Expectations must be in place and in writing. Just because Christine has been in her chair for the last two hours, doesn’t mean she’s available.  Have a system for letting others know when you can and cannot be approached.
  2. Designate a Quiet Space.  Let’s face it.  People are loud and want to be social.  This can greatly contribute to a productivity drain in an open workspace.  Have a room with closed doors available for reservations in 30-or 45-minute increments for “deep think work”.  Also, a break room is a must!  There’s nothing worse than the distraction of someone’s smelly leftovers when you’re trying to focus.
  3. Remember Your Manners, and Then Forget Them.  A purpose of the open workspace is to allow for greater communication.  That doesn’t mean you should shout across seven people.  It’s ok to get up and walk around.  Take advantage of that.  Respect that others are trying to focus amid whatever chaos you and “seven-seats-away-guy” are trying to resolve.  However, there’s no need to be too polite.  If someone’s obnoxious behavior is impacting your work, say something.  You need to be able to cope with some amount of distraction, but there are limits!

An open workspace isn’t for everyone, but give it a chance.  Following these guidelines can help you make the most of it, without sacrificing your productivity.  If you’re still struggling to make peace with the nose-blowers and social butterflies, give us a call at CTC Productivity.  We can’t put up a wall, but we can help you stay sane in the midst of any workspace changes.


Be the first to hear any updates from CTC!