9 Clouds Takes On Open Office Distractions
My old office environment included a door. You know, the kind you can shut to tell your coworkers you’re on a call, you’re watching an in-depth webinar, or you simply don’t want to talk to anyone. With a click of the door closing, you could cut out many office distractions.
This kind of workspace was pleasant yet isolating. It was a quiet office, but it was more space than I needed.
Today, I sit at a two-by-four-foot desk that mirrors another, with ten more desks no more than 15 steps away. This open office environment can be challenging at times, but it offers interaction, inspiration, and camaraderie — things that traditional office spaces sometimes struggle to foster.
Traditional offices can offer less distraction. Open offices, however, can challenge employees from time to time.
So how do we do it at 9 Clouds? Here are the six things that help us eliminate distractions in our open office space.
6 Ways We Deal with Open Office Distractions
On my first day of work, I received the small but sufficient number of supplied needed to survive at 9 Clouds — computer, keyboard, mouse, shelving for a standing desk, and headphones. The headphones were in their little plastic Apple packaging, just sitting there, shiny as could be.
Some employees in our office have chosen to buy noise-canceling headphones; some have Bluetooth enabled; others stick with the traditional white “earplugs.”
While we tend to keep a quiet office to help each other concentrate, the noise decibel can get turned up. This sometimes happens when a favorite office dog comes, or when we saw Dusty, our Roomba, running for the first time.
Headphones, I’ve learned, are the Holy Grail of open offices.
2. Separate Spaces
In our 1,500 square feet of office space, we have an open area for all our desks. We also have our main conference room, work room, break room, and storage area (complete with a comfy couch).
You’ll regularly find people hanging out in any of these rooms. We mostly keep the doors open so that others can join, but when we have a meeting or conference call, we close them to help with sound.
Our break room fosters a healthy level of conversation. (Not only does it have the water cooler, it also has the coveted coffeemaker.) Since it’s at the edge of our office, most chit-chat doesn’t come off as intrusive to the rest of the team.
Creating separate spaces for your employees offers designated areas to meet and converse without disturbing the rest of the office.
3. Team Meetings
Once a week, we have a team meeting to check in with everyone. This meeting gives us a great opportunity to connect with our coworkers. It also gives us time to brainstorm as a whole office.
That means important conversations can happen with everyone at once, not in several segments throughout the week (discussed in hushed tones to not disturb others).
Regardless of where we are (as we have a few remote employees), all of us take part in the weekly team meeting. These meetings give us a time to fuel our voice, talk as a whole, and decrease distractions later in the day — thus increasing productivity.
What is there not to say about how much we love Slack? Slack is an instant messaging service that features both group conversations and private messaging. Typing a quick message to a colleague, instead of talking to them across the room, cuts distraction.
Slack helps our office in promoting efficiency. You can easily search for previous conversations if you can’t remember what came out of the discussion.
In our office, we have channels devoted to specific clients. Because these channels notify only those who work on the account, you don’t have to worry about clogging anyone else’s Slack when you’re throwing out blog post ideas, A/B testing ads, or talking SEO.
5. The Cloud
One thing our office lacks is the sound of machines running. Because we operate in the cloud, the most technology you hear is the clicking of keyboards and the hum of the air conditioner on the roof.
This lack of physical technology is another reason our office can be so open. No need for filing cabinets, bulky desks, large printers, and servers. (And let me tell you, the sound of a squeaky printer can drive any employee crazy!)
Operating from the cloud keeps our office happy here on earth.
One of the things millennials want most in a career is flexible scheduling. Thankfully, our office is conducive to flexibility.
Some of us are early risers, while some choose to work a little later. People take lunch at different times; some leave, some stay. This lends itself to fewer people in the office at certain hours of the day.
Flexibility fosters employees’ most productive hours and work patterns — something more businesses could take note of!
Get a Closer Look Into Our Workspace
Our little family of an office works hard to promote the community, not only for our clients but also for ourselves.
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