Text by Lindsey Mather, AD Clever
Private offices were the first to go, then the designated cubicles. Now, it’s all about collaborative, open-plan work environments, which we appreciate for their breakout rooms and communal lounge areas but hate for their rows of absurdly tiny desks. No matter how much you might love your coworkers, being less than arm’s-length distance from them makes doing your job quite a bit tougher now. It’s difficult to stay focused when your colleague’s conference call is blasting straight into your left ear. Organization goes out the window when three-quarters of the space on your desk is taken up by your laptop alone. Let enough time pass and you’ll probably get used to having a loud, messy workspace—but why not just make a few tweaks to your desk setup instead?
1. Invest in a good pair of headphones
Even if you don’t listen to music while you work, you can slip these on to muffle out chatter, the printer, that person eating chips near you, etcetera. Please note: They’ve got to be over-the-ear (for ultimate comfort) and noise-canceling (because, duh).
2. Make your own cubicle
Some offices are forgoing desk partitions altogether—everyone sits at one long, harmonious table. That’s all well and good, but sometimes you’re still going to want privacy, especially when you’re deep in the weeds on a project. Enter Filzfelt’s portable tabletop screen, which doesn’t require you to talk to your office manager about installation. Simply wrap it around your desk for a few hours of semi-alone time (the felt will also help absorb sound!), then roll it up and store it under your desk when you’re ready to be social again.
3. Declutter your desktop
Even if you’re in a one-long-table situation (see tip #2), you probably have some kind of bulletin board or half-wall straight in front of you—use it wisely. Forget inspiration photos and the calendar you never look at. This vertical space is ideal for storing all the little bits and bobs that typically take over your meager desktop. Fill up a few of Poppin’s adhesive wall cups, pockets, and shelves and watch your workspace magically grow twice in size.
4. Get a little rug
A colourful textile underfoot will make you happy every time you look at it, but that’s not the only reason you should buy one. A rug with a good-quality felt pad underneath will help soundproof your desk even further.
5. Become a plant parent
Despite all these measures, you might still feel on edge in an open-plan office every once in a while. A plant will be your best friend in these moments. In a 2014 study, employees were 15 percent more productive in an office with a few houseplants. A tiny little succulent takes up a mere two and a half inches. It’s worth a try.
Images: Pexels, Unsplash