Oh, open plan offices. We love the advantages you bestow upon us, like being able to see daylight, and not having to deal with people who think their slightly better-located cubicle is the equivalent of a corner office. You’re cheaper than old school office designs, and there’s even the distinct possibility that you’re making it easier for us to collaborate with our coworkers.
But we must be honest with you: every once in awhile, we could really use a moment to ourselves. And in those moments, we miss cubicles with a passion. So, because we are caring individuals who long to help, we’ve compiled this list of ways to hide in an open office.
1. Take bathroom breaks. Lots and lots of bathroom breaks.
Back in the old days, we often heard coworkers talking on their cell phones in the bathroom and thought to ourselves, “Wow, way to multitask yourself onto the wrong end of an etiquette column, Phoney McPhonerson.” Now, however, we understand. In the open office environment, those stalls look an awful lot like private work space to us. If you want to make your sales calls from the cube, we won’t pick on you. (That is a lie. We totally will. But we’ll understand.)
2. Book a conference room.
Most open offices still have some private spaces available for people who need to have closed-door meetings. Book one of these and have a private meeting all on your own. If it makes you feel better, you can always talk to yourself. That always makes us feel like we’re really getting things done.
3. Imitate an ostrich.
Buy a face mask; put it on whenever you feel overstimulated. If you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
4. Wear headphones.
This is similar to our previous suggestion, and best for when you need to concentrate on a task. If you really need a moment to yourself, headphones aren’t going to cut it. But if your problem is Nina in Accounts Payable chirping into her phone all morning, then a little white noise might just be the answer.
5. Stay home.
Don’t get us wrong: We’re not suggesting that you stage a sick-out or stop coming to work altogether. But a lot of companies that use open plan offices also embrace flexible scheduling. Sometimes, having a day or two to yourself each week to get work done without distractions can be the difference between loving and loathing the open office.