Surviving the open office trap

Surviving the open office trap

Open-plan offices might inspire employees to collaborate more, but they’re also one of the biggest killers of productivity. Workers in open-floor plans are more exposed to interruptions by people I call ‘Time Bandits’ — those who unwittingly interrupt you and steal your time. work, as they constantly bombard you with conversation and other activity.

Office workers report losing three to five hours every day due to interruptions. The fix? Here’s three ways to survive the pitfalls of an open office.
Know the cost. Calculate how much time interruptions ‘steal’ from your day. You’ll be astonished. The next step is to let your colleagues know they’re interrupting your work and explain how your ability to work without interruption will also benefit them. Then, Time Lock. Find time to work free of interruptions. You can also ask a colleague to cover for you while you’re gone and agree to do the same for them at another time.

So think about it. If you frequently interrupt people at work, consider how much chaos your innocent act causes. Don’t be your office’s time bandit!


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Edward G. Brown is an expert in corporate culture and behavior change. His sales and leadership programs has assisted Fortune 500 companies around the world.

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