Open plan offices…you either love them or hate them. As an introvert, it is highly likely that you hate them…with a passion. I know, I know. The constant chatter, the interruptions, the forced small talk. It can be draining.
If you haven’t already, go and check out “Open plan office: An introvert’s experience”
However, I understand that walking out of a job is not feasible for most. Bills need to be paid. I get it. So what do you do when you’re stuck in an open plan office job? Here are some ways you can survive an open plan office! Without walking out!
- Take breaks away from your desk
Most people understand this to mean ‘leave their desk and go and talk to someone else at their desk’. But this is not good enough for you. You need a break from the noise. You have to leave the room, go outside if you can and have a change of environment [a quieter one if possible]. It’s the only way you’ll be able to recharge.
- Listen to music (earphones)
If your employer allows it, then listen to music. Nothing says ‘leave me alone I’m working’ like two earbuds in your ear. I’ll be honest, you don’t even have to be playing music, the earphones are enough of a deterrent from small talk convo.
Quick tip: If you’re not a fan of music then I find high frequency music is great for focus and concentration. Click here to listen to one of my favs!
- Speak to your manager
Good managers should be understanding of your work needs. I would suggest letting them know that you find it difficult to concentrate in a busy and noisy environment. You could ask for a quieter workspace or possibly work from home when completing big projects.
- Find an introvert friend
Find someone that is similar to you. You’ll spot them from a mile off as they too will probably have earbuds in their ear. Approach them carefully, suggest that you go for lunch together. If they are truly an introvert there won’t be much talking but you’ll still appreciate the company. You might also find that sharing your frustrations of an open plan office with someone else who truly understands will help you get through the day.
- Change job
If all else fails and you’re still struggling, then it may be time to change job. This obviously is a careful consideration and you must decide how you will transition into another role. But there are some jobs that may encourage more independent working or have smaller offices. Don’t feel bad for changing careers, you’re not giving up just simply finding something that better suits your personality.
I have worked in both large and small offices and my performance was noticeably different. When working in a smaller office I felt more confident, I completed my work on time and I didn’t feel too drained at the end of the day.
So there you have it. 5 ways for introverts to survive in open plan offices. These tips are just some suggestions and you may have other tips. Please share below. It might help someone!
Do you work in an open plan office? How do you cope?