As open workspace concepts replace traditional office settings, more and more businesses look for solutions to address the challenge of noise issues and disruptions that follow close behind. In order to provide productive and happy environments for their teams, walls came down to encourage opportunities for collaboration and camaraderie. However, some might argue that the absence of walls only added more distraction than productivity. For every team member who appreciates the ability to collaborate with their neighbour, there is another who sees open workspaces as a fishbowl – and hinders work performance.
How can you reduce distractions and maintain the focus level your team needs? We’re glad you asked! Here are some tips for bringing compromise to the table and making sure your team gets the quiet time they need to perform – and the open space they deserve for spontaneous collaboration.
Although ubiquitous in hotel rooms, a do not disturb sign is harder to find in an open workspace setting – and even harder to hang on an office door that doesn’t exist. For workers that require more quiet and less chat to make deadlines, noise-cancelling headphones can help them plug-in, tune out and keep on keeping on. Acting as a transparent wall in cubicle-averse spaces, headphones also fit the bill for sparking moments of inspiration with the right tune – or providing moments of clarity with noise-blocking features for muting normal office buzz.
“A subtle visual cue for privacy, headphones are ideal for employees who need some uninterrupted time to focus on work,” says Donloree Hoffman, Human Resources Manager for CDI Spaces. “Providing a workspace where employees need to show up is one thing – creating a healthy work environment where they want to show up is something entirely different. It shows you care about their work experience.”
Do Not Disturb
Speaking of a do not disturb sign, what happens when your team minimizes office buzz with headphones but turns it up with email and text chatter? Believe it or not, there’s an app for that problem! Technology can help you tune into your work tasks and also appreciate the healthy activity that comes as a by-product of open workspaces. As messaging applications, such as Slack, become increasingly commonplace in the modern working environment, employees can take advantage of features such as its do not disturb mode. It also adds a layer of control for reading or even snoozing notifications and even requesting a little more personal time when you need it. You can go a step further and send messages to anyone at any time – without earning a reputation for disrupting workflows.
Another way to manage noise challenges in open workspace concepts is to schedule blocks of time to focus and let others know that important work is in progress. Although more direct and less subtle than other channels of communication, scheduling time for workloads sets your team up for success. Try intuitive and native applications from Google calendars to Calendly for managing your productivity windows – and tune out of the office while you tune into work.
So, okay, you need a break from wearing headphones, and no one pays attention to your schedule anymore? Get out of dodge for a while and let them know you mean business – both physically and mentally. In addition to scheduling blocks of time for do not disturb moments, also make sure to schedule a time for meditation. It is becoming more than all the rage nowadays – it is becoming a necessity for some. C-suite executives such as Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, are making a case for the benefits of meditation. It can help your team stay disciplined during busy days, and refresh their mental focus for the days you need everyone locked and loaded for quality engagement. Help them find balance during a hectic workday. Start with creating quiet zones for quiet and purposeful work or provide simple solutions such as introducing smaller rooms for meetings or individual work.
Are you thinking of evolving your office space into a more open workspace? Get in touch with our team of experts today. Try our 3D approach of discover, design, and deliver. Contact us today to learn more about how to create the best design possible.