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Friday
Jun122015

Introverts and Open Plan Offices

Recently I have returned to reading on being an introvert, and techniques for living (some would say surviving!) and working productively in our increasingly extroverted world.

As a consultant, I often work in my client's offices. Usually, they are open plan offices.

As an introvert this can be a challenging working environment as open plan offices are typically full of distractions - movement, conversation, etc.

My observation is some open plan offices are so full of distractions that even extroverts, who by nature thrive on interaction, can struggle to be consistently productive.

Elan Morgan has written an article "5 Ways to Love Your Open-Plan Office" containing some encouraging and useful tips: 

  1. take more lunches and coffee breaks by yourself;
  2. create a signal to let others know you’re concentrating;
  3. create a sense of private space within your personal area;
  4. note what times of the day and days of the week are typically quieter in the office, and use those times for more difficult work or even downtime for yourself;
  5. book a small meeting room on a semi-regular basis, but don’t invite anyone else.

The first tip is a bit of an "aha moment" for me. I had instinctively formed this habit - without explicitly realising it is an effective strategy for creating some space for myself to relax, reflect and re-energise in the middle of the working day.

I particularly like the closing paragraph:

Bottom line: the stress of the open-office plan isn’t inevitable, and you don’t have to be aggressive or stage a protest to overcome it. Pockets of time and space can be effectively carved out to give you space to breathe and, yes, maybe even enjoy your work again. Some of those extroverts in your office might even adopt your brilliant strategies and learn to nurture their own introvert qualities. Who knows? You might end up with a small revolution on your hands.

I encourage you to read the full article: 5 Ways to Love Your Open-Plan Office.

References (12)

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