I’ve had to work in an office environment where I had my own space, pretty large beautiful office space, and of course, a sliding door I could shut to have some privacy. The beautiful part was that I could see my name boldly written at the entrance of my office.
Every day, on my way to my space and out, I’d feel some sense of pride to see my name neatly hung on the door. It had many cabinets I barely used, but was happy to own.
And I’ve equally had an open workspace. My table shoved at a corner. No doubt, wide table, large enough to contain three monitors, white space, and all what not. That entrepreneurial feel to an open well lit space.
In my few years of entering the workforce, I think I’ve pretty much had it all. I’ve had terrible offices and I’ve equally had moving offices. You know that type of office space where the road is pretty much your office?
The open workspace and closed-door offices both have advantages and disadvantages as far as I’m concerned. I’ve also come to the conclusion that anybody can make the best out of any workspace you get to find – point blank!
The major complaint/ issue is when the office becomes awfully quiet. Awfully quiet work spaces become worrisome if you are working in an open-plan office where other workers have to be conscious of others.
If you had a closed office, that shouldn’t be much of a problem since you’d be on your own and can make the most of your space.
Truthfully, I can be so quiet especially when I’m deeply engrossed at work. I can be extremely quiet sometimes, and that explains why I wrote this post on my constant confusion on being an introvert or extrovert.
But, what do you do if your workplace is so quiet that you can hear other people breathe and can hear a pin drop? It’s called the ‘Pin Drop Syndrome’.
That point when you are desperately trying to chew your carrot without making any sound – clearly close to impossible!
Struggling to staple some documents without making a sound. Battling withholding that coughing sound back, just because you don’t want to apologize to others as usual.
There’s a thing as ‘too quiet’ in an office, and it’s the cause of reduced productivity levels, frequent interruptions, and increased stress among workers.
I know what I’m saying because I’ve been there and I’ve had people complain about this. I was chatting with a friend just this morning and he said an office space should be quiet, else why is it an office?
But, from my perspective, I am of the opinion that too-quiet can be an issue, just as much as too noisy. Who agrees with me?
It can be much of a struggle to work with because you consistently have to deal with concentrating with the little typing sound, squeaks, cringe and other noise you can hear -clearly because the office is just too damn quiet!
Hmm hmm… it can get that bad if you know what I mean. Too much quiet can lead to an unproductive workday.
In the light of this, if your workspace is extremely quiet, making it difficult for you to concentrate and be productive, simply because you are constantly thinking that all eyes are on you, here are a few suggestions to help you.
1. Make use of earphones and listen to music
Music makes the world go round, or so we love to think. What better way to prevent this depressing silence than listening to your favorite music/ artist? This is one great way to solve this issue because we all have different tastes in music and only you knows what’s best!
Of course, you want to be sure that you can concentrate while listening to music, otherwise, this will be a bad idea.
Look for earphones or headphones within your budget and keep yourself busy, while being productive at work. Also, be sure that your music is not too loud so much that others can hear what you are playing. That can be annoying!
2. Look for a distraction
In this case, you’d want to tap your fingers or something. I find that distracting yourself sort of helps in finding concentration, you know what I mean?
And most times, when I realize that a place is just too quiet, so much that little sounds seem so loud, then it’s about time to start some humming. Just be careful and don’t overstep your boundaries so much that you are affecting another person’s peace.
Also, get some personal noise along, get a mini fan to help even out the quiet. I have a personal heater at work. Haha.
I didn’t get it for myself though, I was just lucky to have one offered to me at work (when I complained that it was too cold), but heaters usually make some noise/ hum that makes it seem like there are human beings around. lol.
Now that it’s Spring, I guess I wouldn’t be needing it, too bad.
3. Start up a light conversation
When work is going slow, try to have a conversation with workers other than relying on just the early morning greetings and evening goodbyes. Try to start up a conversation when you know that your co-workers are not busy with work.
As long as you have been able to break the current silence, chances are high that other colleagues will join in on the conversation. To start up a conversation, it doesn’t have to be anything too personal. You can start with talking about a job well done, or topics discussed at a meeting.
4. Open up a window or door
Now, this could go in two entirely different ways so you have to be extremely careful. You have to ensure that you are not affecting someone else’s privacy (if that’s what we could call it).
This would be apt if you stay close to a window or door. And would be better if your office is close to a park where you can hear the birds chirping and you can feel the soothing breeze from the air.
You don’t want to do this if your workplace is close to a very busy area that has so much distracting noise.
The noise from outside will help even out the quiet in the office and could help you concentrate better. If your office is in dire need of the cooling system (or heating system as the case may be), and you open up the windows, this may lead to a conflict of interests.
You want to take note of the weather outside and be careful that you are not bothering others. Like I said earlier, this tip works best if you have a fairly decent space or cubicle close to the window/ door.
No doubt, this post can turn out in two entirely different ways: a too-quiet office or a noisy-loud office. An open workspace could create any of these. Read this post where I discuss 5 Quick Tips to Cope (and be Productive) in a Noisy Office.
In the meantime, please share other ways you have been able to handle a too-quiet office space. Are these tips useful, do you have more suggestions?
I would really love to hear back from you.
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