How to Thrive and Survive an Open Office

There’s something about the absence of walls and barriers that makes me intrinsically happy. Having the ability to talk, brainstorm, and joke with coworkers helps me connect with my team, while also getting my work done. Walls only make things more complicated.

At Kinetix, we’re not so close that we’re bumping elbows, but close enough to collaborate. Each team has a different pod with large oblong desks for each team member. We also have white noise installed in the ceiling–don’t ask me how–to manage the sound, and mini rooms around the office that people can reserve. It’s nothing like the dining room setup in HBO’s Silicon Valley

Open floor plans aren‚Äôt a new idea; they‚Äôve been around since the 1940s. Google did it, Facebook did it, and pretty much every fast-growing company in a fast-growing industry adopted the open office. And now, the working world has been taken over by WeWork and other companies providing coworking hubs. 

Despite the popularity, open offices have a lot of haters. Whether you like them or not, you‚Äôre probably going to have to work in one at some point. Thriving or surviving in an open office is up to you, but all of us at Kinetix came up with some ways to help you make the floor plan work. 

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

If you‚Äôre the type that needs a little quiet to read or focus on something, noise-cancelling headphones are something you should look into. Like the name says, they help block out all other noise‚Äìreally well, I might add‚Äìand they‚Äôre also pretty stylish. Even if you don‚Äôt want to listen to music, you can just slip them over your ears and enjoy the complete silence they offer. Most brands even have built-in microphones, so you don‚Äôt have to switch over to another pair when you get a call. 

Hot and Cold Hydration Containers

Whether you‚Äôre a Hydroflask or a Yeti person, we can all agree on one thing: Hydration is important. Not to mention the other benefits of reusable vessels, like helping the environment, keeping drinks hot or cold, and keeping your car free of coffee spills and stains. 

An Office-Only Sweater

No matter where in the world you live, every office is freezing cold. I‚Äôm sure that‚Äôs a fact we can all agree on, so I‚Äôm not going to cite it. Dressing for the weather outside is smart. Keeping a sweater at your office is even smarter‚Äìthat way you‚Äôll be comfortable before, during, and after work. Not to mention, it gives you an opportunity to add another layer to your business drip.

Desk Personalization

Make your space your own by adding mementos or other souvenirs to your desk. For example, I have about three pictures of my dog, a photo of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and a picture of Celine Dion giving a thumbs-up. And yes, before you ask, all of my photos help my productivity. I can‚Äôt explain how, they just do. Once you make your desk your own, you‚Äôll create your own safe space without having to put up walls, making you more comfortable and ready to get work done. 

Here’s some other advice from the Kinetix team:

  • Get to work a little earlier if you like a little quiet time in the morning 
  • Buy a fan that plugs into a phone charging port
  • Be okay with telling people you‚Äôre busy and can‚Äôt talk, just make sure you do it nicely
  • Get yourself a little hot plate to keep your drinks warm‚Äìit will change your life

While there are many opposed to the idea of open offices, the layout is extremely beneficial in an environment and industry like ours. The comradery, energy, and connections provided by open floor plans is what makes our team at Kinetix so strong.

How do you thrive in your open office environment? Sound off in the comments!

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