5 Ways to Love Your Open-Plan Office

Many introverts wonder what kind of sadist concocted the open-plan office layout. I used to imagine a middle manager with control issues who gleefully corralled his employees into a single room so he could watch their every move while torturing them with endless loops of the same three mixed CDs he made for a country music jamboree six years earlier. Oh, wait—that guy actually existed, and I worked for him. Let’s try this again.

Open plans might work well for extroverts who thrive on social interaction to get things done, but for introverts, who can be easily overwhelmed by stimuli and who need alone time to recharge and stay focused, this kind of setup can have the opposite effect.

When I first started working in an open-plan environment, I was excited about the work I would be doing. We were already deep into a fundraising campaign for our city’s university, and every announcement of a new building or scholarship was a rush. It didn’t take long, though, for that rush to feel more like a dislocated dread. It was difficult to concentrate and stay on task in the office with all the surrounding noise and movement, and I was often pulled away to consult on other projects outside my main work. Rather than engaging more with my coworkers, I had to withdraw as an act of self-preservation.

Spending eight to ten hours a day in an environment that left me exhausted and scattered began to take its toll. I coped by engaging in deep breathing sessions in back hallways and occasionally crying in a bathroom stall. My stress traveled home with me and kept me up at night. Did you know that clenching your jaw because of stress can eventually crack your molars? I found out that it can! When I finally had to seek out prescription medication to deal with the stress, I knew that something had to give.

Since I couldn’t march in with two-by-fours and drywall to build myself an enclosure, I had to get more creative. Even with the limited amount of control I had over my physical work environment, I could still alter it in ways that worked with, rather than against, my introverted disposition. I focused on the things I could change, no matter how small. Lo and behold, I dug up a few ways that helped me not only cope but also enjoy my work. It’s really possible!

  1. Take more lunches and coffee breaks by yourself. This one seems obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. There can be a lot of pressure to socialize with your coworkers during breaks, but if you don’t take at least fifteen minutes to lie down in the back of your car and read a book a few times a week, stress can snowball.

I am lucky enough to live in a smaller prairie city with a lot of green space. During warmer months, I slipped out of the office to a quiet park, where a grotesquely large gopher would hang out with me if I fed him part of my lunch. I called him Gopher after the character with the same name on Love Boat. Those moments were quiet and sweet, and by the time I went back to the office, the morning’s buildup of anxiety had dropped away.

Of course, there may be a gopher out there with a heart condition now. Let’s not dwell.

  1. Create a signal to let others know you’re concentrating. A signal can be something as simple as wearing a set of headphones to show that you don’t want to be disturbed, or, as I had to at one job, putting a sign on top of your computer that says “Busy Right Now.” The headphones are the better option, though, because signs like that can get you labeled as the weird one if everyone doesn’t adopt your system. Take it from me. I was that weird one.


  1. Create a sense of private space within your personal area. My office provided us with low cubicle walls, so I mounted a coat hanger beside my desk. A hanging coat created just enough curtained privacy to define a space where I could work without being distracted and without looking like I was erecting a wall to keep my coworkers out. I actually was constructing a wall to keep my coworkers out, but at least it didn’t look like it.

Another option that can define and shelter your space is a freestanding bookshelf or even potted plants—either larger ones on the floor or smaller ones on your desk, depending on the amount of space you have.

If you find yourself adrift in an open-plan room with no walls to border your space, have a talk with your office manager about being moved to a spot against one wall. It might feel like an awkward conversation to start, but if you let them know that the move will help you concentrate on your work, they might help you out. Having a wall still leaves you fairly out in the open, but at least you won’t be vulnerable on all sides anymore, and that can go a long way in making you feel less under siege by local traffic.

  1. 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. After a couple of weeks or months in an office, you will notice a pattern of activity that you can make work for you. Mark the quieter times on your calendar so you can get the most out of this valuable breathing space. Schedule them as your time to get more difficult work done or just to bliss out at your desk while no one is looking.

I learned this trick from a woman with whom I sometimes shared work in another office. I dropped by her desk unannounced one day, and she emerged from a space on the other side with a small blanket and a pillow. It turned out that Wednesday afternoons were when everyone in her office was out at meetings, and she took that time to lie down and meditate. She found she was happier and more productive. She called it her “Costanza Hour”, which makes her one of the smartest people I have ever known.

  1. Book a small meeting room on a semi-regular basis, but don’t invite anyone else. This tip is my favorite. One day it occurred to me that no rule said that meeting rooms could only be booked for groups, so I booked myself a room for two hours and worked alone without interruptions. They were the two most blissful hours of my open-plan office life. I felt brilliant!

Coworkers will assume that a scheduled meeting room demands privacy, and you will be able to work without being chatted up, touched, or otherwise harassed for the duration. It’s like having a proper office for a while, only it’s an office where nobody will knock on the door, and you can turn off your phone. (I think I need one of these rooms at home now.)

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.

Share your thoughts.

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  • Don Droga

    Open space office is stealing my weekends through exhaustion.

  • Adit Prakash Bhiday

    The strangest thing I have seen is that meeting rooms have transparent walls and doors. Why so? Is it because passers by can take a lot at the white board which is being used inside the room and glean some knowledge from it? These people with these open office plans are plain nuts. Their companies deserve to go bankrupt, which is when they would see the picture that they are not good for productivity.

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  • me



    Only companies that work on perception believe they are good.Open office plans have been studied and they are proven to lose up to 60% of productivity. Who wants to work for a company that makes decisions on perception, they won’t be around long.

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  • AngelN19HJ

    I work in the middle of Times Square, so going out for a walk at lunchtime is every introvert’s worst nightmare. Headphones don’t help me concentrate… they have the opposite effect, as my job relies on the accuracy of the smallest details. And they give me a headache. As for booking a meeting room, I could never just disappear from my desk for that long. My boss and co-workers would be freaking out and I’d have to answer for my whereabouts.

    In general, most of us have no choice but to be surrounded all day by people who just will not (CANNOT) be quiet… and bosses who won’t consider the needs of anyone except the extroverts, because their “look at me” showiness gives the appearance of being more engaged than those of us just trying to get our work done. We’re just seen as difficult, high maintenance, anti-social and oversensitive.

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  • “Will I be working in an open plan office?” is now a question I ask at interviews. 🙂

    • They won’t tell you it is “open plan”. They will tell you it is “collaborative”. I swear, if I hear one more recruiting agent or hiring manager say the words “collaborate”, “collaboration”, or “collaborative”, I’m going to vomit right on the spot. It isn’t good enough to accept their open plan office (or “team room”, “bullpen”, or whatever they prefer to call it now). You must think it’s awesome!

    • Adit Prakash Bhiday

      Nice move. I normally sneak a question in like that too. Its normally preceded by a statement like : Although I am fine with both kinds of floor plans, as a matter of curiousity …

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  • Tamara E.

    I enjoyed this article. The small pockets of time alone, lunch, breaks, etc, weren’t enough for me to overcome the challenge. An open office plan is just too invasive and noisy for me. Seems like every noise was magnified ten times. Chewing gum, tapping feet, coughing, finger tapping, everything. I hated it 99.99% of the time and was so glad to leave that job. It was stressful.
    I once worked in a secured room with 2 other people. One of them I became really good friends with. She can tell when I wanted to talk and when I didn’t. Most of the time we chatted over instant messenger even though we were in the same room and our conversations were actually hilarious. That gave me the ability to communicate without actually having to talk. LOL The other person I worked with was not as great. I would love when he would leave the room. Even though the other girl was in there, it was like I was by myself and could relax.
    I work in an office with a semi-private cubicle now. Its okay with the exception of people. My manager likes to just walk into my area. I never walk into anyone’s area without them inviting me in or saying its okay, but he just strolls in. He is super invasive and is part of the reason I’m looking for another job. I’ve actually just cried so many times at this job. I like to work when I’m at work. I don’t want to have to look into peoples faces and entertain their conversations about their kids and dogs and what they ate last night.

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  • Joe Hulik

    If so much research is against this open floor plan, why are companies still insisting that we work like this? Where I am we have no personal space. I have to schlep in my keyboard and mouse. There are no docking stations. Only a few monitors so you need to get in early to get a space with a monitor. I have bad eyesight so I need the larger screen of a monitor and cannot comfortably use the 13 inch laptop screen.

    • amylynn1022

      Two reasons I can identify. First, the savings in real estate can be documented while the much greater losses in poor morale, lost productivity, and turnover are not visible, or if they are they are attributed to other factors or to “whiners”. Two, the managers who make these decisions exempt themselves so they don’t have to experience or take responsibility for the problems their poor choices create. In one egregious example I experienced a manager IN A DIFFERENT STATE forced my team to sit in a dirty, noisy, cold hallway next to a very chatty team (we were writers). It didn’t seem to cross her mind that there was good reason no one was sitting the area she put us and she willfully ignored (or worse) anyone who questioned the decision or tried to explain its negative impact.

  • The Gentle Grizzly

    I am recently retired from an engineering firm. We had a more or less open office with cubes, dank colors, little sound damping, many cubes with low walls. The meeting rooms got booked a lot, and many just called in and worked from home. Our phone system made that very easy, fortunately.

    I had a good team and they knew when to leave “Uncle Bear” alone. We were a tight-knit team. However, most of the rest of the office was chaos, or there was a lot of visiting going on, lowering production. One man more or less always wore a head-set. Another just hung a sign across the opening to his cube with the word “no” on it.

    I seldom worked from home; my team required I be present to lend them a hand. However, if any of them wanted to work from home I never refused them that right. I knew their personalities and what they needed. They never let me down.

  • Danielle Jackson

    I love this article. I have had this problem in most of my jobs because working in Marketing requires a collaborative environment. I have been at my new job for about 5 months now and I already had the talk with my manager that my teammates do not think that I am a “team player”. Luckily my boss, who is an extreme extrovert, used to be the HR director and she is used to having many different personalities around her. She told me that what they said cannot be true because the moment someone needs something, I am the first to respond with help. Everyone I work with is an extrovert, they chit-chat, they get distracted easily, and I see it everyday that they do not work the same way that I do. I even come in an hour earlier to get work done in silence because I work better that way. My issue now is getting over the fact that they said that about me. I feel very excluded now because they think I’m not a team player. I am in fact a very helpful person, but currently my surroundings are making me doubt myself. I just need to get over the comment from my teammates and have faith that I am a good person and a helpful associate to my team. I work hard and I get deep into my concentration phases, luckily my boss sees that and I need to realize that it isn’t a bad thing.

    • aedixon

      Your boss has your back! That’s more valuable than your co-worker’s misperceptions of you.

    • verkan

      My small office has 3 introverts (including me) and 4 extroverts, including the manager. We have decided to take turns engaging all the extros’ at the same time, so the other two get a break. I really like chatting about TV shows or sports, right before the manager has to go to her status update meetings with her boss. I don’t think she’s figured out my timing yet.

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  • Dr_Ace

    I lasted about one year once this got very popular. Since then I’ve been able to work mostly from home. Every time I have to go into the office for a day, it takes me days to recover. I can’t believe I used to do it every day, though I was a total wreck for the duration. I just can’t imagine who thinks this is increasing productivity!

  • tr_n

    Love the meeting room idea. Thanks

  • Krupa Fan

    One of the advantages of being a lab rat…I’m in the outer building where the labs are. I share an office with one other lab rat who may or may not be in the office the same time I am. Works for me although I’d have some serious decision-making to do if I want a promotion that requires I join the open office folk in the main building. Just an observation but headphones seem to be the new walls.

  • Kath

    All really great ideas. I solved my dilemma a little differently. Being team leader gave me a little advantage and also a high work load helped. I booked out 2 hours in my calendar every day where I was not to be disturbed by my team and during that time they ran interference for me, dealing with anyone who came to see me. As a trade off each of my team members got scheduled one on one time with me once or twice a week where they got individual training or help with any situations they were having difficulty with. Worked for me, and for them

  • Mo86

    I have worked in many offices in my life. So far, I have been so lucky to have avoided the open office setup. (Although I guess it’s a relatively recent invention.)

    Now I’ve been unemployed/under-employed for 8 miserable years. I dread the idea of FINALLY finding a job again, and having it be something like this! I’d have to take it, of course. But I cannot imagine working under these conditions.

    But these are great tips! I will keep them in mind if I ever do find a job again. (I’ve lost hope at this point.)

  • L J Laubenheimer

    I am solving my issue with one simple solution: I am quitting, and going to a job where I will share an office with only two others, and have a door, bookshelves and a desk.

    How much is not suffering with an open office hell worth? About $15K, which is also the amount they “save” on real estate in an expensive market. My soon to be former workplace will have to find some other masochist to sit at a narrow bench in a noisy room with only 36 inches to call my own, and a little drawer across the room to store my stuff.

    Revolt, people. If they get enough pushback, these upper managers will realize that they can’t retain talent in an open plan.

    • Robert Ryan Riddle

      My work includes promoting these open plan environments to do exactly what you describe — save money on real estate. Fortunately, I work at a place that also wants to position itself as leading with good design…

      As a strong introvert who, possibly like you, finds the open plan ‘bench work station’ offices energetically draining, I’ve worked hard to inject positive solutions into policies and designs…including placing an emphasis on proper acoustic design choices [which, I have to say, many if not most designers continue to just ignore; I’ve even seen designers from some very high-profile international design firms give acoustical design consideration short shrift] and putting an emphasis on ensuring there are a sufficient number of enclosed spaces for people to move to, when concentrative work, or private conversations, are required. [Even this can be a challenge, depending on the personality of the managers, who may not see the need for “a door”]. Also, I’ve tried to ensure the work station solutions we use are not the equivalent of a study carrel, and provide a minimum width of 54″ (with 60″ width as the standard module) and minimum depth of 30″…for a number of very practical reasons…

      Finally, the place I work balances the open plan office with a fairly liberal telework policy. I work from home two days a week, and have colleagues who do it 4-5 days a week. This helps, but I have to say some of the extroverts think it’s the solution for all the introverts all the time. One of them even advocated, recently, “Do your thinking work at home.” I couldn’t stop myself from responding, “If we have to go HOME to think, what does that say about what takes place in the office?”

      I don’t blame you for moving, though I wouldn’t want to share an office with two others. And I’d say the trend toward fully open offices is inhuman. But as for advising people to revolt, the cultural momentum, I think, is too enormous for managers to fight the trend — which is international, and is forced in large part by economics. Also I wouldn’t go so far as to say that talent is found only among the introverted.

      • EleonoreLandry

        ‘ Also I wouldn’t go so far as to say that talent is found only among the introverted.’

        THANK YOU.

    • George Avalon

      LOL… “36 inches of space…and a little drawer across the room…” You obviously have a job that robots (or a 3rd world country) will be doing soon.

  • anonymous15

    I find it really sad that needing quiet is considered to be a luxury we cannot afford (i.e. private offices to certain positions but not others), rather than as a necessity for productivity. I work at a place where people are very hypocritical. I’ve actually spoken up about how distracting our open office plan is, and have gotten flack for it, to the point where people have made me out to be the grinch that forbids people to talk even though it’s work related or to have fun. Though had I not spoken up about it, rules about being quiet and limiting meeting times in the room wouldn’t have been placed. Now my supervisor no longer cares about people being quiet. The worst part about that – he’s an introvert himself.

    Then they made us take a survey anonymously and *many* people said that disruptions were the problem.

    So it’s a bad idea to talk about it, but a good idea to actually acknowledge it anyway? SMH.

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  • godsmotive

    I think that companies should just stop trying to convince people they are for increased collaboration as opposed to decreased costs. It’s like cutting out the free coffee service and trying to convince everyone that the reason is because caffeine is bad for you. All the people making these determinations do so from behind their office door. It has nothing to do with you, productivity, collaboration or community. It has to do with costs….period.

  • AbbaGurl

    These are good suggestions and can certainly help – especially booking a conference room for quiet work. I worked in an open office environment with only two conference rooms and no partitions of any kind. I used all the strategies Elan suggests. They do help but it was a nightmare. Nightmare! Eventually I was approved to work from home one day a week. I chose Wednesday to break up the week and it was a Godsend. That said, I was ultimately laid off from the company. Within days of the layoff, the pain in my knee stopped, I stopped clenching my jaw and my shoulders came down from my ears. Yes, use these strategies and any others you come up with, but know yourself and honor your work style. If you can’t work remotely, consider looking for another job because you’re not doing your best work if you’re constantly fighting against the stress of your environment.

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  • George Hook

    I am totally drained after a day at the office. I use headphones, but people inevitably tap my shoulder to get my attention. My neighbor, generally a nice guy, taps his fingers on his desk constantly–how can you tell him to stop? Following a day at the office, I have to get on a commuter bus that is usually packed with people. I generally feel like doing nothing when I get home, which isn’t always possible. And I think it might be affecting my sleep, because it takes me awhile to download. I have been swimming and exercising after work sometimes, which helps, but everything else generally tends to overwhelm me. I get very grouchy and I despair because of all of this, so maybe I will try some of the above tips to help ease the struggle.

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  • amylynn1022

    Agreed. It seems to be an example of the sort of penny-wise, pound-idiotic attempts at money saving that too many corporations try to pass off as “team-building” or “buzzword-du-jour” while conveniently exempting the people who decide to inflict it on everyone else.

  • Shelly

    I am not adjusting well to this situation (even after several months). I’m beginning to stay later – helps me think clearer. As the queen of coming up with good solutions I feel like I am failing miserably at this one.

  • Very nice work. I am encouraged that other introverts can share openly without condemnation.

  • Allison

    I so relate to this. I work in a cubicled office with about 30 other people, many of whom are !!EXTROVERTS!!… with very few space or sound boundaries. Even the part-time folks who don’t have a cubicle, but just stop by to chat when they are here are LOUD extroverts.

    I’m adjusting to this environment after about six years of living it.

    Two things I still struggle to adapt to are:
    *coming in to work in the morning and being greeted and chatted up immediately (please, give me five minutes to adjust to being here)…feels slightly like I’m under attack and I think my face communicates that to the person who is “just being friendly”
    *and a direct supervisor who is not only an extrovert and highly social, but also needs a LOT of attention. (Every little thing is worthy of a lunch out with the entire gang to celebrate or we ALL have to go sing happy birthday to someone in our department [or have it sung at us], or we have to have a meeting every five minutes to discuss whatever is on her mind at the moment.) It’s so exhausting to me and she not only doesn’t understand, but several years ago listed my need for quiet (i.e. not stopping my work immediately to respond to whomever stopped in my cubicle At. That. Instant.) as a negative on my yearly performance evaluation. (I’m adapting enough that she only brings it up every evaluation time to note that I am “improving” in that area.)

    • George Hook

      I can relate to that “coming into work in the morning” effect. After I spend time with people on a commuter bus or train, the last thing I want is to be greeted and chatted up immediately. You don’t want to appear rude or nasty, but my God, leave me alone for 15 minutes!

  • Karli

    This article is amazing. I just got a new job and am going to be in an open floor plan. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tips!

  • DerekSmith

    Schmutzie, are you Elan?

    • Quiet Revolution

      Yes, Schmutzie = Elan.

  • Rhys Morgan

    I work in an open plan office and I’ve used many of these tips in my workplace without conscously thinking about the introvert thing but guess what my employer is introducing “hot desking”

  • Angie aka Ms. O

    For nine years I taught in a school library that was wall-less … we were the center of an H shaped school and a major thoroughfare hallway. On a slow day 1800 feet walked through … and there aren’t many slow days in an elementary school. Distracting to the kiddos and myself when we were trying to talk about how to find a great book, or the the basics of database research, or the characters in a story, even still exhausting when I was working on a book order or creating a multimedia aspect of a lesson. Staff and kids would think they were being nice calling out “hello!” or stopping to chat “since you don’t have a class right now.” I got sick All. The. Time. Last summer they finally built six foot walls. Can still hear all the chaos out on the hallway but we don’t see it. And that is something.

    • Even reading that, I felt like I could breathe again when the walls came in.

      • Mo86

        I know, right? I felt the same way.

    • amylynn1022

      My elementary school was like that. The library was in “sunken living room” in the middle of the school. The school was an old pod-school that had thankfully had most of the classrooms walled off by the time I started. The library thankfully only had to deal with noise when we were changing classrooms–and we were reminded to keep it quiet.

    • Mo86

      Wow, I salute you! That sounds like an utter nightmare to me. I am so glad things finally changed for you.

  • Abdul

    I subconsciously adopted all these strategies and i’m happy to say it really does make you feel more productive and comfortable working in an open plan office environment. What i did was move closer to the wall where there weren’t that many people sitting, as most of the extroverts work in the centre of the office.

  • MadeInMaine

    But then there are the “hyper-collaborative” workplaces that forbid working alone. Didn’t know that when I accepted the job as a software engineer. I somehow managed to survive for over a year. Eventually I was laid off because I didn’t “fit in”. Booking a conference room for myself would have been considered an act of rebellion and I would have been asked, “Why don’t you want to be a team player?” To me, some environments are simply too dysfunctional. Glad I didn’t “fit in”.

    • True. I worked in an office like that, as well, and any signs of social retreat were seen as rebellion. In that kind of situation, there’s only so much a person can do aside from looking for new work, which is what I did.

    • Mario

      The managerial groupthink engendered this antfarm mentality, which, curiously enough, needs a hivelike office space to thrive. So, those of us who want to assert our individuality and our talents are given short shrift with the motto that we aren’t team players, or that we don’t fit in their culture. Well, I’d rather not fit in such a dysfunctional culture, as you so well put it.

      It’s the year 2016 and I’m still surprised that there aren’t more companies offering working remotely or from a home office (a boon for us introverts!) despite the overabundance of technologies and the watershed that we’ve seen for the self-employed in our country.

  • amylynn1022

    I have read a number of articles about how open-offices are bad for introverts, but I have to wonder if they are any good for extroverts, especially if the extroverts need to do work that requires concentration. This is an important question, because it makes a difference whether we are asking for a special accommodation to deal with a system that works for most people or just suffering due to a widespread problem but manifesting different symptoms.

    I ask because in a recent open-office situation I noticed that it was the extroverts that seemed to always be getting pulled away from their work. The “distractions” may have been less draining for them, but they still seemed to be distracted and having to play catch-up on their work. If anything, the introverts like me seemed to have an advantage because we were more willing to put on our headphones and send out “I’m busy” signals. Or is it that the extroverts are energized enough by the interactions that it made up for the distractions?

    Any thoughts?

    • That’s a really interesting question. While I tended to internalize my stress and withdraw, I wonder if the open-office setup caused more aggression in those who tend to be more extroverted, and I wonder if, overall, people actually do get less done in this kind of environment?

    • I’m sure that extroverts, as well as introverts, would get loads more work done in quiet and privacy outside of open-plan offices. Obviously it’s extroverts who are creating most of the noise, a lot of which may not even be work-related. So they’re not only distracting others, they’re spending a significant amount of time socialising instead of working because the temptation to do so is probably overwhelming.

      I think most of the scientific research highlights how background noise, interruptions and multitasking is universally detrimental, even if it is particularly harmful for introverts. So I think it’s a widespread problem requiring radical overhaul rather than a few special adjustments here and there. Extroverts are equally affected in terms of productivity, even though they’re probably much less likely to complain because open-plan offices make them feel good with all the added opportunity for energising social interaction.

      It would be better, I think, if we could compartmentalise work and being social. So spend 3-5 hours a day concentrating intently on getting all your work done – alone or in a quiet place with a few others depending on your preference. This would leave us all with lots more time (which would otherwise have been spent on small talk, being distracted and lost productivity) to pursue hobbies, relax, and spend time with those we love most. (I do recognise, of course, that some jobs require a lot of communication and also that some people do need and benefit from more breaks and energising interactions than others – but still it’s probably not best to mix the two?).

      • EleonoreLandry

        Well, I find hobbies and relaxing boring, I need to talk to people, and those I love the most are for the most part too busy to spend time with me. So socializing at work it has to be.

    • Mo86

      Thank you for raising this question. I haven’t yet had to deal with the open-plan office at a job. (THANK YOU, LORD!) But even if I was not an introvert, I’d be wondering the same thing: how can anyone be productive and efficient in an environment set up to create constant interruption and distraction?

      I’m sorry I have no substantive input, but this is something I wonder about often as I look for work. This office setup seems to be quite common these days, so it’s likely that I’ll have to deal with it at some point, whether I like it or not.

  • Lauren Scott-Smith

    I found my short stint in an open plan office to be unbearable and absolutely exhausting. I couldn’t handle it, even broke down infront of others more than once which was incredibly embarrassing… so I quit after just 7 months. I vowed to never again work in an open-plan office full-time (hard with all the modern trends towards open-plan). However my current employer was very understanding (refreshing)! I now get to work remotely from home about 2/3rds of my week and the rest of the time I am in a (small) open-plan room with a close-knit team. I still find my time in that small open office quite tiring and never get as much work done, but it’s an excellent compromise for people like me.

    I think work places NEED to be more flexible around working environments for their employees – we’re all different at the end of the day! I count myself lucky.

    • George Hook

      They are fairly lenient where I work and understanding when I need to stay at home to have work done on my condo and such, but they look askance at policies that promote working remotely regularly. It’s hard for an introvert to explain to a supervisor that I actually get more work done and I’m more productive and relaxed when I do work from home. It’s a conundrum.

  • I have just moved from a work space with my own office (with a locking door!) to an open floor plan with half cubicle walls. It’s been such a huge adjustment. These are great tips, though. I’ll have to start using a few.

    • That’s a huge adjustment. Best of luck!