I recently read articles about work environments from Steelcase.com. Very good issue#68 but my impression after having reading part where they are talking about open-spaces was negative (well they are selling offices furnitures so… 😈 ): it was like open spaces at work bring more cons’ than pros’ due to environmental noises, perpetual distractions and loss of privacy.
I won’t say that I completely disagree with such statement, but « one size never fit all » and the reality might depend on the company (how mature is it), your coworker/teammates (are you part of a team or just group), your job (are you coder/writer or marketer) and more importantly YOU. Thus it comes to an agreement between you and your company, since potentially your productivity might be impacted.
I personally like open-space because it helps cohesion, teamwork, breaking the hierarchy structure because you are open talk and listen almost freely. Well I don’t say you can sing in the middle of the space but it is about balance and respect in a public area.
Normal environment noises don’t bother me, and when I need some privacy for a call or working on something confidential I just use a meeting room. Regarding, perpetual distractions, I used to take multiple micro-breaks instead of long ones: it helps me to step back while working on a complex subject without loosing focus on it.
You can also improve your focus skill to make it more efficient in a noisy/distractive environment. I play Baseball since I’m 12: both batters and pitchers need to gain focus on his job while fans and opponents teammate yelling at you 😛
But if sport is not an option then you can try the 5 tips to enjoy time in an open space proposed by lifehacker.com!