As open-plan offices become increasingly popular, many of us are used to working in a crowded space and dealing with office noise. Open spaces can be beneficial for collaboration and facilitating team member interactions, but on the flip side, it’s can also create distractions that can impact productivity. Everyone has a different threshold for noise and while some are very sensitive to it, others thrive on it. If you’re having difficulties concentrating in your office environment, here are a few ways you can deal with the noise and focus on your work:
Use noise-cancelling headphonesInvest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones to block out excessive noise levels at work. Wearing these also signals to those around you that you need to get down to business. That said, when you do retreat to your own space with music, ensure it does not hinder your concentration or productivity either
Talk to your co-workersTaking the direct approach and asking your colleagues to take it down a notch can solve the problem of distracting noises. However, it is important to be polite and tactful, and to approach them in a non-confrontational way. Most of the time, people don’t realise how loud they’re being, and will appreciate a gentle reminder.
Flexible work scheduleIf you have a deadline coming up that involves deep concentration, speak with your boss to find out if you could tackle it from home. If that isn’t an option, try moving to a quieter place, such as an empty meeting room or even a coffee shop, to temporarily avoid office distractions.
Organise your tasks effectivelyOffices are generally quieter early in the morning and later in the evening. If you can organise your tasks around those hours, you may be able to accomplish more during these times to make up for any lack of productivity during peak noise hours. Try to schedule super-focused work that you can do by yourself during quiet times when the majority of your co-workers are not in the office.