Nowadays the popular thing in the workplace is an open plan office however, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea and there are some definite annoyances when it comes to this type of office layout. The constant buzzing of office machines and the sound of your overly loud co-workers on the phone or having a conversation about last night’s dinner really isn’t something a lot of people can handle when they have an urgent deadline that day. Obviously there are going to be issues with every kind of office setup but the open plan office seems to incorporate them all into an unmanageable enemy, but there’s no need to worry because there are ways that will help you deal with the problem without allowing it to get on top of you.
o There’s always a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of the office, whether it’s a free meeting room or five minutes in the kitchen while no one else is in there, take the opportunity to think quietly without anyone disturbing you. If you have a laptop computer rather than a PC then it’s pretty easy to use an empty room to your advantage so take yourself off for a while to make sure that deadline is hit.
o If you have a problem with one person in particular being overly loud then try talking to your supervisor because the likelihood is that if you have a problem then other people will too. You should talk about how the noise affects productivity and how the introduction of a noise cancelling policy – such as no phone calls between 1pm and 3pm – could really improve team morale.
o If you do have a problem with a particular person but you don’t want to take it up with your manager then arrange a personal meeting with them instead. When you have your meeting be sure to tell them your problem but also tell them that you’re happy to help them if they need any assistance when it comes to resolving it.
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o Music is a great way to counteract the noise, if you have a music player with headphones then there’s no harm in using it in the office when you’re struggling to think because of the noise.
o If it’s feasible then ask your manager whether it would be possible to work from home for a few days of the week so that you can be sure that all of your important tasks can be completed on time.
Sally Andrews is an office manager and has always struggled with the open plan layout that she had to adapt to so she had partition walls from Monowa fitted with great acoustic alterations so she couldn’t hear what was going on inside the main office.