Despite the mounting evidence against open office concepts, they continue to be a growing trend. Perhaps due in part to the cost savings in fitting the maximum amount of people in a given space or other touted benefits, the fact is is that open spaces often negatively impact performance and productivity. They are disruptive, stressful and a source of dissatisfaction to many employees. So, if you are stuck in one of these noisy wall-less environs, what can you do?
Look around any open-plan today and you’ll see many people deal with the distractions by wearing ear buds or headphones. The problem though is that depending on your task, the type of music you listen to can actually decrease your performance. Unless you are doing work that you’ve done many times before, then whatever your preferred music is, it’ll likely help you to get things done.
Silence Can Be Golden
If you are doing tasks that are new, demanding and require an intense focus, then using a noise canceling app or headphones is likely the best solution. Listening to music in this circumstance can serve as a major distraction. However, lessening external sounds with a noise canceler can reduce cognitive load and improve your ability to focus on the task at hand.
So, if it’s a routine task, crank your favorite tunes. If not, turn on the noise canceling app or find a quiet space to get things done.