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Afropolitain Tips: Working well in an open space

The open space has a bad reputation due to noise, it is difficult to concentrate, one feels guarded by his colleagues, and has no privacy. However, in many companies an individual office is often a luxury reserved space for the boss. Sharing your office with several colleagues does not have only disadvantages. Here are some tips to avoid the most of situations.

Consider your colleagues

Take the initiative to define working rules with people who you share an office. Organize a meeting where everyone can express what disturbs them, the moments when they want to work quietly or preferences about decorations in the office.

Highlight the common interest and attach yourself to giving consideration to your colleagues. In the end, you are there to work. So, efficiency is the final consideration for making a decision. If you strive to consider your colleagues in your daily behavior, it will be more natural for them to adapt their behavior when you need a peace.

Here are some basic rules to make life easier in a community:

  • Put your mobile phone on silent mode and leave the room to make personal calls
  • Ask for permission before turning on the radio or using headphones to listen
    to music
  • Do not speak loudly, communicate via internal messaging or chat rather
    than by phone
  • Book a meeting room for long discussions
  • Got to your colleague instead of speaking to him loudly when he’s sitting at the other end of the room
  • Avoid disturbing odors (Example: food or perfume)
  • Agree on the temperature of the room and the ventilation
  • Plan long telephone calls related to work at a time when your
  • colleagues are not present in the office or as far from the office as possible.

Learn to isolate yourself

Start by creating a workspace of your own, in which you feel good. You can alleviate the feeling of being watched by moving your screen, setting up a rampart with green plants or a storage. Decorate your desktop as you like, put pictures and images that are familiar to you. All of this helps to delimit your space.

To isolate yourself from noise, you can use earplugs or noise reduction headphones. This does not work for all jobs. If you have to answer the phone, it will probably be impractical to remove your ear plugs. When one of your colleagues forgets the rules of community life that you have set, you have a choice between two reactions. One, you can address them nicely.

For example, by asking him to continue his discussion aloud with a colleague in a meeting room. Two, you can decide to take a break and leave the office to see other colleagues, have some tea, or get some fresh air outside for a few minutes. Upon your return, your colleague will probably have finished his meeting.


If you want to work for an hour or two on a special topic without being disturbed, move to a meeting room or an empty office. You can also place a small sign on your table indicating that you wish not to be disturbed. It is important to explain to your colleagues that this is a temporary phase in which you want to work effectively and not an overall rejection of the group.

Benefiting from synergies

The open space office setting sometimes has advantages. You can exchange your current files with your colleagues by observing them, you understand better their daily challenges, and the way they work.

Also, this can help you working more effectively with them. In moments of relaxation, at the end of the day or Friday afternoon you will probably have the opportunity to work in a more relaxed atmosphere.

At work, there are a lot of things you get from pure sympathy: a file handled as a priority, a bill of expenses repaid faster, or a bug fixed between two other tasks. By cohabiting with your colleagues in an open office setting you gain a social bond.

Stay focused on these positive aspects when you think about your office life in open space.

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