Friday, November 13, 2015

Learning to Work in an Open Environment

il_570xN_831935110_6tpjFor those who know me very well, I’m a extremely introverted person..  I try to portray a friendly open extrovert at work but for the most part, I rather just go to work, do the job and go home to my family.  

I work at a 3rd Tier Electronics Company Manufacturer and the culture style is an open environment.  The primary purpose of offices who adopt an open environment workspace is to make is easy for team members to have open communication and easy collaboration of ideas.  This isn’t for everyone.  There are more distractions, noisy and more transparency between colleagues.  However despite the potential drawbacks, it’s an environment that works for my company and most of us thrive in this culture.

As a introvert, I had to adapt and developed a few things that helped me focus at the tasks on hand

Develop a ‘Invisible Wall’

People chat more in a open environment and often a lot longer then talking about the weather.  To get out of these conversations, these often work:

  • Wearing headphones
  • Put up a sign
  • Block it out on your calendar (to avoid people booking your time)
  • If you use intercompany communicator – set yourself as ‘busy’
  • Close your email software – if it’s an emergency, they’ll find you

Step Away from the Desk

None of us are chained at our desks.  For more in-depth conversation with details that shouldn’t be shared, have it at a coffee shop or a spare meeting room.  Sometimes I borrow a company laptop and I work in spare room from time to time.

Personalize Your Work Space

Since we are at work 30% of the time 5 days a week, it’s natural to want to enjoy our space.  Bring a plant, small aquarium, pictures or decorations, things that that are acceptable for your company.

For me, I have a Lego mini-figure collection based on the Marvell super heroes.  Yes, I do play with them

Work During Quieter Times

Adjust your hours when it’s more quiet, maybe earlier before most people arrive or later when most people left for the day.  This ensures interruption time to focus on your projects.  Or once in a while and if you have work that flexible enough, work from home.

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