open plan office

How to cope in an open plan office

Whilst still a relatively new concept in Saudi Arabia, more and more workplaces are embracing the ‘open plan’ office.  Gone are the walls that would usually keep us hidden from each other and now we are being encouraged to not only share a workspace but to collaborate more with our colleagues.  Open plan working can be a difficult concept to get used to, particularly if you’re used to working in your own private office, with plenty of new distractions to stop you from working.  In order to help you cope with this change, we offer some tips on coping in an open plan office below.

Get Used to Working with What You Need

When you have your own office, you can have as much access to your files and equipment as you need, which can make your space messy and cluttered.  Now that you’re in an open plan, you have others to consider too.  Try cutting down how much stuff you bring to your desk each day, storing things away when they are not needed.  You’ll probably find that you need far less to work with than you’d think, making you more organised and a tidier person.

Learn to Ignore the Noise

When there are lots of people talking, or on the phone, it can make getting work done quite distracting.  It shouldn’t be your business to listen to every little detail of what your colleagues are doing, so learn to block them out.  Focus on your own tasks and work and you’ll soon start to ignore the background noise.  If you still find that you’re getting distracted, why not get some headphones and listen to music or some that block out external noise – you’ll soon find that you get a lot more work done.

Avoid the Talkers

Sitting with colleagues who are big talkers can be a huge distraction, particularly if you’re easily sucked in to the chatter.  If you can, sit next to colleagues who you know are quieter and like to get their heads down to work, that way you’ll be far less tempted to talk about last night’s telly.

Find Places Where You Can Go To Get Away

If you need to take an important phone call or even find some time to read a detailed document, then there should be somewhere where you can go for some privacy and quiet.  Book a meeting, find a private corner or even head outside for a bit to take some time away from your colleagues to get things done.

Be Respectful to Others

Show respect to your colleagues by avoiding being too loud and by keeping any habits which may be perceived as being annoying to a minimal.  It won’t hurt to offer to make them tea or coffee once in a while either.  If you find that a colleague is disruptive through talking loudly on the phone or leaves rubbish everywhere, find a friendly way to ask them to be more mindful and I’m sure they’ll appreciate the head’s up – they probably hadn’t noticed that anything was wrong!

Working in an open plan office is a great way to get to know your colleagues better and to find different ways of working.  They may have strengths that you might not have considered before that could prove to be a boost to your own projects.  Like any sort of change it will take some getting used to, but you’ll get there in the end and soon enjoy harmonious office working in an open plan environment.