How to Actually Get Sh*t Done in an Open Office


While open-office layouts are great for things like team meetings and spying on coworkers’ lunches, it’s sometimes hard to stay productive in the midst of so much coming and going. So we went straight to the pros to ask: How do you actually get something done in an open office?

How to Stay Productive in an Open Office

1. Take a Breather

At least temporarily. The constant noise and distraction in open offices can make you feel out of control of your surroundings, says Gary Evans, Ph.D., a professor of environmental and developmental psychology at Cornell University. That can lead to an underlying sense of helplessness that puts a damper on motivation.1

The single easiest way to avoid it? Remove yourself from the situation. That may mean finding an empty conference room in which you can concentrate or simply washing your face in the bathroom. Either way, a time-out can break your action-reaction mode and help you ignore the constant office chatter, says Joshua Ehrlich, Ph.D., chairman of the Global Leadership Council.

Works Cited
Stress and open-office noise. Evans GW, Johnson D. The Journal of applied psychology, 2000, N…

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