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Introverts: Can They Still Be Productive in Open-plan Offices?

Most offices today feature open-plan spaces where everyone, from the executives down to the rank-and-file employees, works in the same room. For many organizations, this setup is proven to be effective in encouraging collaboration, inspiring creativity, and boosting productivity. But while the concept is popular for its benefits, it doesn’t bode well for some people, especially those who lean toward introversion.

Introverts in Open-plan Offices

Many companies jump on the open-plan bandwagon because it encourages collaboration, something that goes against the penchants of introverts. It’s no secret that they prefer to work on their own, and they operate best when left alone. They also value privacy. With open-floor spaces, they are almost stripped off of the chance to work discreetly.

But all is not lost for introverts. Although thriving in an environment that rewards extroversion can be a challenge for them, there are ways to thrive and even be productive in what appears to them as a peculiar office setting. Here are some of them:

Block Out the Noise

And we mean it both literally and figuratively. Concentration is one of the many precious assets of introverts. With lots of distractions in an open workspace, it can be hard to maintain a clear head and concentrate on a task.

One quick and effective way to silence the noise is to wear industrial earplugs. This type effectively reduces noise levels without completely blocking off sounds, which means that you will still be able to hear when someone attempts to talk to you.

Start Your Day Right

You want to practice blocking the noise as soon as you wake up. Avoid reaching for your phone first thing in the morning to check your social media, the news, or your email. Doing so could divert your energy and cloud your mind with distracting thoughts. This helps maintain mental clarity so that you’ll have a clear head when you reach your station at work.

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Know Your Priorities

The constant barrage of notifications and the never-ending hustle and bustle in a fast-paced work environment can chip away the concentration of an introverted person. To minimize distractions, you can begin by switching your communications app to Do Not Disturb mode. You can advise your colleagues to send you an email instead of urgent concerns. This helps you to focus on the task at hand. It also helps to carry out the most challenging tasks first thing in the morning when your energy levels are at their peak.

Recharge as Needed

Open-plan spaces invite face-to-face interactions, which can be a source of an introvert’s mental exhaustion. When watercooler talks and unnecessary conversations start to drain your energy, don’t hesitate to take breaks and steal a few quiet moments to recharge. Here’s what you can do: find a private space away from your station to gather your thoughts, walk around the block to breathe fresh air, or play your favorite video game to relieve stress.

By practicing these things, you will feel more energized, focused, and ready to tackle the tasks ahead when you return to work. Don’t forget to unwind over the weekends to reclaim your sanity and revive your energy.

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