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3 tips to help you survive an open plan office

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A new piece of research has added more support to the claim that open plan offices are detrimental to employees’ productivity.

A study by the University of Sydney has found 49% of those working in an open plan office are dissatisfied with their working conditions.

The study, which has been collating responses from more than 40,000 people since 2000, also found the levels of dissatisfaction were higher among those in open plan cubicles with high partitions (59%) and low partitions (58%).

This latest research backs up former studies such as this, and this. But despite the increasing evidence against it, the concept of an open layout looks like it’s here to stay. So, what can you do to make an open office plan work for you?

Here are three things to consider, if you want turn the lack of privacy into productivity.

1. Be considerate
As Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in this world”. If you want to create a more conducive working environment, it has to start with you.

Avoid distracting colleagues by putting your phone on silent, not yelling across work stations or speaking too loudly to colleagues or over the phone.

If you need to hold a discussion at your desk, do so when your neighbours are not around or try and keep the conversation short. Along the same vein, if you have to play music at your desk, keep it at a respectable volume.

2. Be strict with distractions
It’s much harder to keep colleagues at bay when there aren’t physical boundaries keeping them out of your personal workspace.

Set up a system with the colleagues sitting closest to you so they know when you’re not to be disturbed. For example, putting on a pair of headphones not only signals that you’re busy and would prefer not to be disturbed, it also helps you disconnect from the rest of the noise in the office.

4. Keep clutter to a minimum
Again, this boils down to being a considerate neighbour. Unlike a cubicle, open plan offices mean there are few physical markers by which to mark your territory.

Need a refresher on why messy desks can increase your stress in the morning? Click here: The truth about a messy desk (GALLERY)

Are you working in an open layout office, or do you have more advice to share?

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