Manhattan Office Design champion the idea of collaborative spaces, which includes open-plan offices, we know that they are not for every company in New York. And not only that, in some situations, implementing an open office can be counterproductive. Aside from that, there are a lot of ways to create a great office, one that’s engaging, sustainable, and collaborative, without having to resort to an open layout.

Here’s How to Stay Productive and Avoid These Cons of an Open-Plan Office

Avoid Distractions and Stay Focused

Logically, an open office will also mean more noise, and not everyone will be able to tune it out automatically. Not only sounds but smells can also be a distraction! Being so close to your coworkers will let you experience a whole new world in regards to your coworkers that might not be a positive experience. Try these tips to stay focused on your tasks:

  • Get some fresh air: It might not sound very productive but when your office is full of distractions and it’s hard to focus, sometimes it’s best to walk away for a minute from all the noise and quiet your mind. Taking a deep breath of fresh air will help you get back from the mental fatigue of work. You’ll be able to tackle your tasks with a fresh perspective and less stress.
  • Invest in noise-canceling headphones: Not only do these help drown out all other noises, but it’s also a clear sign that you’re trying to work and not to be bothered. Your coworkers will interrupt you less if they see that you’re wearing headphones, trust us. And while we’re at it…
  • Find the Right Music to Listen to: If you want to be productive, “streamlined” music can help improve your focus at work, as well as your mood — according to research conducted on Cornell University. More reason to crank up Africa by Toto while you work.
  • Establish some boundaries: There’s really no shame in letting people around you know how you work best. After all, you’re there to do a job, and if having an open-plan office is becoming a distraction, you’re responsible for finding a way to make it work. Block some time of your day to be strictly dedicated to working on your own. Be the change you want to see and create an office plan that’d want to work in.
  • Practice tolerance: Finally, after establishing some boundaries, hopefully, your coworkers should better be able to accommodate your need for privacy and focus. However, no one is perfect. Respect and tolerance go both ways in the workplace.

Take Back your Privacy and Personal Space

Everybody’s mentioning it and they should, because privacy is very important. If your open- plan office does not have places in which people can disconnect from the very public environment of the open layout, then you’re going to have a lot of employee-related issues.

In an open-plan office, no one can ever put up an effective barrier between you and distractions and nosy coworker. You may end up feeling vulnerable and exposed, under the spotlight. As you become acutely aware that you can hear other people’s conversations, others can listen to your conversations, too. This certainly can put you on a defensive mood, constantly paying attention to who is within earshot and possibly eavesdropping.

For these reasons, an open office plan leads to a level of distrust and may make employees more vulnerable to harassment. That’s not a healthy environment for any office.

This is a little different from privacy, but logically related. It is not just about being alone, but about having your own space. For many people, constantly sharing the workspace (but not the workload) can lead to a lot of anxiety and stress. Be careful how you set up your workstations.

Finding privacy in an open plan office is a must. Talk to your manager and try to find booths, or acoustically sealed spaces for phone conversations, and suggest others do the same.

Protect Yourself During Flu Season

As anyone who have seen open-plan offices full of sniffling people during the flu season can tell you, these office layout make people more likely to get sick. Open offices and collaborative workspaces contribute to the spread of illnesses, mostly because everybody is in a much more constant state of physical contact.

Keeping your workspace healthy is a must, so if this your case. Talk to your manager and opt from a telecommuting or work from home choice. Your manager would hardly deny you if this mean putting in risk the health and productivity of the rest of the workers in the office.

Higher Costs

We can also factor in the high costs of not only setting up and open-plan office but also of maintaining it, which is why the best furniture stores and office interior design firms always favor sustainability. Take that into consideration when preparing your budget.

Manhattan Office Design is proud to work with the best of the best in office interior design and furniture, as well as keeping up with the latest trends in workplace culture. We have a commitment to healthy office practices, happy employees, and making the world a better place, one office space at a time. We’re not suggesting that you don’t get an open-plan office, but rather that you inform yourself

on the possible setbacks of putting one together.

No idea is perfect and no idea works for everyone. But we can make every and any idea work for you. If you want to learn more about these topics, Manhattan Office Design is the place to call.