More companies than ever are using open floor plans than private offices. This can be good, because it saves companies money (which means they may be able to afford to pay you more) and can help you befriend coworkers, but they can also make productivity suffer and force you to wear pants since you’ll be around others. “In open workspaces, it’s hard for people to get their work done if it requires uninterrupted concentration and focus,” workplace strategist Cali Williams Yost told Fortune. “People who have jobs that require private conversations or uninterrupted thinking really struggle.”
But there are ways to deal with an open floor plan to keep from going insane. Here’s some help!
Keep plants and windows nearby.
They’ll be nice reminders that there’s a world outside.
Invest in noise-canceling headphones.
A somewhat insane number of offices lack actual conversation, even with an open floor plan, and instead your boss will IM or email you from 10 feet away. As a result, most of the chatter within your office won’t be pertinent to your actual job. If you’ve got too much on your plate to be social, use noise-canceling headphones to drown out that mouth-breathing cube mate or the bitter broad in the next row who keeps kvetching about Kim Kardashian’s baby weight.
Adjust your schedule.
If you really need to focus, come into the office early to get a head start on a big project before the rest of your coworkers come in and clog the space with their noise, and well, their bodies. Bonus? Your boss will probably let you leave early, too.
If you have a looming deadline, ask your boss if you can work from home so you can focus more closely and have more privacy. To show you really mean business, try to turn in your project early, that way we bet she’ll let you do it more often. Like I am right now, completely devoid of pants!