7 Great Ways to Survive in an Open-Plan Office


Nowadays many people have to work in open-plan offices, which can be very noisy. Moreover, there’s a real lack of privacy, and that can lead to a big deal of stress.

In fact, it’s possible to work in an open-plan office without being stressed out, if you know how to cope with it. Check out 7 helpful tips for surviving in an open-plan office.

1. Personalize your own work area

An open-plan office can feel impersonal and soulless a bit, with you not having your own work area. But you can still personalize your space to work better in an open-plan office.

You will feel more relaxed, and it will also mark your own work area so your coworkers are less likely to intrude on your space. You can bring some family pictures, a calendar, and even your own cushion.

2. Communicate with coworkers

One of the advantages of an open-plan office is that you can easily communicate with your coworkers, and this communication can certainly help you to survive in an open-plan office. Communicating online is dehumanizing, so make sure you go and talk to someone in person. It’ll also help avoid the annoying ring of the phone and break up the constant tapping of the keyboard.

3. Make rules

Yes, rules will help everybody to survive in an open-plan office. Everybody should be able to make some suggestions, and you need to discuss such important things as temperature, closed or open windows, music and sound levels, and eating in the office.

4. Have some quiet time

An open-plan office can be very noisy, so if the coworkers next to you are continually playing rubbish music or cracking bad jokes, put some headphones on and listen to your favorite music. If you don’t want to listen to music, then try earplugs instead.

5. Keep your work area tidy

The problem with open-plan offices is that everybody should see everyone else’s mess. You definitely don’t want your things starting to clutter up your coworkers’ spaces because you are not organized, and nobody wants to see leftover food in their field of vision. So make sure you keep your desk neat and tidy.

6. Plan for the unexpected

One of the things that make it difficult to survive in an open-plan office is that it’s too easy for your coworkers to come up and bombard you with questions and problems. I’m sure you don’t want fifteen people crowded around you when you are trying to accomplish some important tasks, so try setting aside a time slot every day when you’ll attend to your coworkers’ last-minute requests.

7. Have some fun

Bring up with the management that you all need to have a short period of downtime at least once a week. An open-plan office is a perfect space for paper elastic band flinging contests and airplane throwing. 10-15 minutes of fun every Friday (or Monday!) afternoon will keep you all sane.

Sure, working in an open-plan office is very stressful for everybody. But try to put at least two of these tips into practice, and you will find it easier to survive in an open-plan office. How do you survive in an open-plan office? Please share your tips!