The challenges of an open plan office

Open plan office plans have been increasingly popular in recent years, supposedly offering flexibility, greater communication and the ability to hot seat. However, for many workers, this kind of environment can present a variety of challenges.

The concept was designed to improve communication between workers but can leave staff feeling distracted, exposed, lacking privacy and overstimulated. If you’re stuck with a work environment that includes an open plan or hot seating for flexible working, here are a few tips that can make things more bearable:

Make your space more homely

Just because you’re at work, doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable and at ease. Try giving your space an at-home feel, after all, you are there for many hours each day.

A selection of portable personal effects can easily and quickly be added to any desk. Items like a photo, a desk toy or small potted plant can make all the difference. Your own water bottle, some hand cream and your favourite snacks to hand will instantly make the space feel much more personal to you.

For those who don’t have an assigned desk each day, perhaps you have a storage locker or set of drawers that have been assigned to you. Ensure that your personal effects are small and light enough to be portable and can be easily stored again at the end of the day, ready to be taken out again the following morning.

Commandeer your own chair

Just because you have to hot desk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to keep your own chair. Everyone has different ergonomic needs, so if you have a special office chair then make sure it is marked clearly with your name and move it with you if you need to change desks. You’ll want to keep tabs on an Eames office Chair if you have one. Find a range of Eames office chairs here at Pash Classics.

A close up of a chair

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Bring in the outdoors

A bit of nature can improve any space, making it more relaxing. Consider bringing in an office-friendly plant like a succulent which is easy to look after. These plants will survive even if you’re off for a few days or away on holiday. Be careful which plant you choose, as even those that don’t need much in the way of watering, can still suffer under fluorescent lighting.

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Noise-cancelling headphones

If you can use headphones in the office, a pair of noise-cancelling ones will replace the noisy chit-chat of co-workers with calming silence or music of your choice to help you focus.

The design of open plan offices is supposed to foster an environment of collaboration by removing barriers to communication. Sometimes, people want to be able to concentrate and get on with their personal work, so headphones have become the new barriers. Whilst headphones can sometimes make communication a little awkward, the benefits of privacy outweigh this.

Take a break sometimes

No matter what your working environment is like, it’s always good to take a break and get away from it at regular intervals. If you have the option of sometimes working from home, that’s great but if not, try to find a quiet corner or meeting room to escape into for a couple of hours to give yourself the chance for better productivity.