Top 5 Tips For Staying Healthy, Productive And Sane In An Open Office

Open offices are something that more and more business are looking into and have been a staple in many industries for many years.

There are many people who thrive in an open office environment as the background noise is able to help them focus and concentrate.  However, this is not the case for everyone.

If you work in an open office, you are bound to find people who have a hard time dealing with the distractions. This can lower productivity and a survey found that people who work in open offices are generally not as efficient as those with their own offices. The effectiveness of an open office will also depend on the company culture.

An open plan office is ideal for companies that are collaborative organizations.  Companies that are characterized by distrust and withholding of information will have this magnified with the open office.  If you are one of the people who have issues with an open plan office, there are a number of tips that can help you to stay sane, productive and healthy.

Create Privacy Where You Can
Having some form of personal space, even if it is only the illusion of personal space, is very important.  You can do this by putting a tall plant or shelf on your desk to create a barrier.  

Depending on the layout of the office, you can also turn your seat to face away from large groups. This will help to limit the distraction that comes with having a large group in your view line. If you have an outdoor garden area, or especially one with a water feature, remember that outdoor fountains are great nice blockers.

Make Use Of Meeting Spaces
Meeting spaces are something that well-designed open offices will generally have and will include a small room where you can make personal phone calls.  These spaces should be used if you want to discuss something that you do not want everyone to hear whether you are talking to someone on the phone or in person.  This will help to keep common areas quiet and provide you with privacy.
If your office does not have any meeting spaces, you need to consider making calls in the stairwell or outside if the weather permits.  This is also a great way to get away from your desk for a moment and take a break from your computer screen.
Block Out The Noise
The bustle of the office can be distracting, but you can cancel this with the use of earplugs or noise canceling headphones.  If you find music to be distracting when you work, a white noise app could provide you with the block out sounds that you need. Of course, you will need to ensure that your employer does not have any policies against the use of headphones in the workplace.

Wash Your Hands
Working in an open office can affect your health.  The journal Ergonomics published a study which shows that open office workers use more short-term sick leave. Washing your hands and keeping your work area clean can reduce the chances of sickness. The CDC states that washing hands can reduce respiratory illness by 20%.  You should also use disinfectant wipes on your mouse, keyboard and desk.

Be Respectful But Also Speak Up
Working in an open office requires all workers to be mindful of other people.  You need to be respectful when it comes to noise levels, fragrant flowers, perfumes and any strong-smelling foods.  You should also cover your mouth when you sneeze and stay home if you are very sick. This will stop the illness from spreading to your co-workers.  

However, if the open office is not working for you, it is important that you speak up. There are some people who could be disruptive without realizing it.

If there is something that bothers you, you need to be prepared to politely talk to the people who are causing the disruption.

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