4 Ways to Stay Focused in a Noisy Open Office

While countless studies have shown that open-office environments can stimulate your creative juices and promote brainstorming and collaboration with colleagues, they can also be a shy person’s nightmare – not to mention the arch enemy of anybody with a tight deadline or someone trying to write complicated code.

Cramped desk spaces combined with constant chatter can be alleviated with modern privacy pods like those offered at Emagispace. Our innovative company specializes in sustainable, affordable, and flexible design solutions for the workspace, and our soundproof pods are highly effective in eliminating distractions!

Here are some other solutions for combatting noise and maintaining your sanity while on the job. Best of all, you can implement these yourself and exercise control over the space where you likely spend most of your waking hours.

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Earbuds/Headphones

If you can remember to make a lunch or plan what to wear to work, you can also add “bring earbuds” to your to-do list prior to walking out the door. They not only block out the noise, but they also signal to co-workers that you need to get down to business (not to mention let you listen to the Beastie Boys without judgment from your peers). But here’s the rub: don’t be the guy or gal that dons monster-headphones that make you look like an air traffic controller. Your boss/colleagues shouldn’t have to walk across the room and shake you to get your attention. Keep the volume – and the size – down.

Go for a Stroll

Take some time out of your day to collect yourself and do some deep breathing. Just get up and walk away from the source of the overwhelming sound. Whether it be a quick trip to the kitchen to get some water, next door for a coffee, or even a bathroom break, a little physical activity can do the trick. Giving yourself some breathing room puts you in a better state of mind and more capable of tuning it all out. 

Put a Stop to it (Before it Starts)

Prevention is key when confronting a sensitive or awkward situation, and this holds true when dealing with a noisy office.  If you know you have a super-important project coming up (and don’t have the benefit of retreating to a privacy pod or empty conference room), step up to the plate and spread the word around the office. A good way to approach this is simply bringing it up in casual conversation (“Hey Beth – you guys in accounting must be relieved tax season is over. Now it’s my turn to be slammed this week with the annual marketing meeting on Monday!). The key here is to be genuine, inspiring empathy while creating awareness of your challenge. That being said, it’s important to choose your conversation targets carefully.

Have a Heart-to-Heart

While nobody wants to be the buzz kill and tell everyone to quiet down when it’s Friday and everyone’s ramped up for the weekend ahead, sometimes the noise just goes over the top. However, in most cases, people just don’t realize how loud they’re being, and they’ll probably appreciate a gentle reminder. Deliver your plea good-naturedly, and more than likely, no one will be offended or stiff you at next year’s Secret Santa exchange.

Working in a boisterous, high-energy office can be major boost to brainpower as well as provide an opportunity to bond with your team. But, when it starts to sound like a needle ripping across a vinyl record in your head, refer to these steps to keep your sanity intact and your production level high.

More Ideas for Combating Noise at Work:

  1. Forbes, “How to Focus and Stay Productive in a Noisy Open Office,” https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahlandrum/2016/10/25/how-to-cope-with-the-most-dreaded-part-of-work/
  2. BBC, “What to do about your Noisy Office,” http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170426-what-to-do-about-your-noisy-office