Whether or not you believe open floor plans are conducive to a happy work environment is irrelevant. What matters is that 70% of offices tear down those walls. There is a lot of information concerning how to deal with people who you suspect of being rude to you at the workplace, but oftentimes it’s not enough. If this happens, you need a more rapid solution on how to deal with them.
For example, when the person next to you is so rude to callers that he slams the phone’s receiver five times to hang up and ensure the line is really disconnected. Or when someone has a cold and the sound of blowing their nose manage to ruin your brainstorming session… After crises like these, here is your guide to get back on your feet.
- Take 10 Deep Breaths.
When you’re really stressed and need to calm down, deep breathing is a good first solution. Deep breathing can help you feel calmer and provides the brain with more oxygen. Disclaimer: Breathing while watching emails doesn’t count. Close your eyes and clear your head, then take deep breaths in through your nose out through your mouth. After a few minutes, you’ll be amazed by how much calmer you feel.
- Try a Quick, Guided Meditation.
If you can’t shake off other people’s pesky fluids by taking a breath, try dwelling on your own thoughts for a few minutes with meditation, even at work. Head over to calm.com or download the app on your phone and choose the length of your session—2, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. If you want company during your journey into a peaceful state of mind you can opt for “guided.” There are plenty of nature scenes for you to choose from. Simply select a photo and put in your earphones. Enjoy!
- Take a Break or Start your Lunch Early.
Sometimes, I just want to grab a coffee with my break but the caffeine can make me feel even more frustrated or anxious. Still, it’s never a bad idea to step away from your desk and get some water or other fluid that’s not so caffeinated. If you’re verging on lunchtime, then go a little earlier than normal and return just before everyone else does for a short window of peace.
[Related: “I’ll Say It: Open Floor Plans Can Be Really, Super Lonely”]
- Get Your Focus on With Music.
A good way to get rid of pauses by noisy coworkers is to use a solid pair of headphones with noise-cancelling technology and listen to music on a focus-focused playlist. If you want background music to help you focus, Spotify has the right kind of playlists, specially designed to help. For more on what music will boost focus, check out: http://www.alexanderstl.com/music-will-actually-help. You could try drowning out the neighbors on Simply Noise, which offers types of noise such as white, brown, and pink. I’m not sure what “pink noise” sounds like but to be honest it can’t be worse than the sound of mucus.
- Head to a Conference Room.
If your area of the office is cursed, take this advice from Kurt Greene, President of Arrow G Consulting. “Don’t be afraid to regularly book a small conference room for yourself for the chunks of time you need for the solitude or for the uninterrupted, distraction-free time you need to get your stuff done,” he said. “If you are a manager, make it totally OK for your employees to do this too.”
- Dive Back Into Just One Task Until It’s Done.
One of the best ways to feel better is to keep track of what you need and go at it at your own pace. “Research has not only shown that multitasking doesn’t work, but also that it’s bad for your brain,” said Tor Refsland, author of Time Management Chef. “When you try to multitask, you perform several tasks with below average quality, and your brain will work less effectively when you try to focus on a single task.” Complete a small task to get you back on track, even if it’s just organizing your desk or planning out your day.