5 Ways to Keep Distractions Down to a Minimum in an Open Workspace

by Elizabeth Dukes on February 12, 2015

Well, hello there neighbor. If the staff at your facility complain of days spent struggling to meet deadlines, they may be experiencing some of the challenges of an open workspace environment. Open workplaces Is your office a little too friendly? Minimize the distractions in an open workplace.can be wonderful opportunities for social interaction and creative collaboration, but a noisier and more open office environment can also pose challenges for employees. As a facility manager, how can you help?

1. Create Meeting Places

In an open workspace, it’s much easier to have casual, impromptu, and creative conversation. However, when an open workplace begins to feel more like a party than a working space and productivity wanes, it may be time to reclaim the meeting. Providing spaces for discussion helps employees focus on that particular meeting instead of being distracted by what’s going on around them.

2. Accommodate Different Work Styles

Some people thrive in an open, busy environment. Others need peace and quiet to get anything done. Your office environment needs to ensure that both people can be productive. When you’re designing an open office environment, create flexibility for different work styles by creating a variety of spaces, from communal desks and couches to more private meeting rooms and quiet places to focus on a project in more depth. When employees feel like they can control their environment and choose the space they need to work in at that moment, they will be more productive.

Provide quiet spaces for client meetings or small discussions.3. Designate Quiet Spaces

If an employee is working on a large project that needs intense focus, you can provide opportunities for that employee to work from home or in a small, quiet space. When employees need help with everyday distractions, using noise-cancelling headphones sends a “do not disturb” signal to other office employees.

4. Provide Venues for Personal Conversation

The noise level in an open office environment can be challenging, and it’s best to keep personal conversations to a minimum. Interested ears might be following the discussion, and that contributes to workplace distraction and a loss of productivity. Encourage employees to use breaks to plan personal projects and conversations, and designate private places where employees can make personal calls.

5. Help Employees With Their Work Flow

A busy, open environment is stimulating, but it can be challenging to focus. Sometimes, the answers lie in your employees’ ability to manage their space, but at other times it’s all about time management. Combine a busy office environment with the modern malaise called multitasking and you have a recipe for incomplete projects and unsatisfied employees. Provide time management and work flow education for employees to encourage them to focus on a single project and see a task through to completion. They can use the diversity of spaces you’ve created and choose the space that allows them to focus well.

Open office environments can create a sense of group purpose and cohesion. This social atmosphere lends itself to idea-sharing and fun. However, it can also be difficult to work with an intense focus and see a project through to completion when you’re working in a distracting space. Space management software can help your employees manage their needs for flexible meeting spaces and quiet places in an open workplace.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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