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Staying Productive and Focused in an Open Office

Johnny Lee January 11, 2017 Creativity, Productivity

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One of my personal favorite parts of working at Jackrabbit is our open office space.

I find it energizing to be around everyone, I enjoy not being isolated in my own cubicle, and it’s easy to jump in and out of impromptu happenings around the office.

With that said, a lack of privacy and unwanted noise in an open office can be distracting and occasionally stressful, like when you’re working on a project that requires a lot of focus. Here are some of the methods I employ that can help you stay productive and focused in an open office.

Tune Out with Your Headphones

Get yourself a pair of headphones and a subscription to a music streaming service like Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play. Play your favorite music to get going, or find soothing, instrumental playlists that help you focus. You can even find playlists for things like white noise and rainfall if you want to completely tune out.

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Work in a Different Area

Try working in a different part of the office or at a different desk if available. I find it especially helpful to be away from my own desk and computer if I need some time to sketch out ideas, look over notes on a project, or review my own work. In my case, I’ll find myself at our Focal Confluence table or at our kitchen table. Sometimes it’s incredibly refreshing to just be away from my usual spot!

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Look Around for Inspiration

If you’re a designer, staying inspired is incredibly important. Seeing what other people have made and different ways to approach design problems has positively influenced my work. Check out Tools of the Trade to see one of our designer’s many go-to inspiration sites. Podcasts are also popular among some of our developers as a way to learn new skills and keep up with the industry.

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Take a Break

Simply taking a break, going out to lunch, and finding ways to get out of your chair may be helpful in coming back to your work refocused and energized. See a previous blog post on different ways to get moving in and out of the workplace.

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Instant Messaging

We use Slack for a lot of our office communications. For me, seeing a million emails in my inbox can be daunting. Using an instant messaging system in the office can help organize your chaotic inbox and cut down on conversational clutter in the office. And somewhat related to taking a break, sending each other GIFs is always quick, fun diversion.

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Reduce Eye Strain with Apps and Eyewear

If your work doesn’t require color accuracy, there’s a few different things you can try to reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes and cause less strain. Apps like Flux (and similar apps on mobile devices) or special eyewear like Gunnar glasses (recommended by one of our developers) both achieve this. This may be especially helpful if you find yourself looking at long lines of code or going over a lengthy document.

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Conclusion

Even if you work in a busy, noisy office, there’s plenty of ways to be productive and focused with music, different apps and tools, and simply taking a break!

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