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Zen and the Art of the Open Office

Zen and the Art of the Open Office

Young man employs noise-cancelling headphones to stay focused in an open office environment.

The backlash against being crammed into open offices like non-free range chickens has already begun, but that doesn’t help those of us who still work in open offices. Not only can open offices make it difficult to get into the zone, sitting in one large open office space gets you sicker, since germs can readily gallivant throughout your workplace. While steadfastly ignoring that everyone can see you read Scandal recaps is useful, denial of reality can only go so far. Here are some methods for introducing a little peace into your open office workday existence.

Noise-cancelling headphones

The golden standard in surviving the open office, headphones are the equivalent of a closed door in the office. Screening out your coworkers’ idle chat about vacationing in Costa Rica is a breeze with these beauties – but for maximum productivity at work, opt for white noise instead of the Hamilton soundtrack.

Take a walk

There is no law that says you need to have all your lunches and meetings in the office. Schedule a walking meeting – not only will you get a little exercise and fresh air, the change of venue (and lack of ability to stare at your computer) will perk you up.


Sometimes you don’t have time to leave your office – but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on some workplace rejuvenation. Schedule a short in-office massage – even 10 minutes of massage can reduce stress and back pain and clear your head. A chair massage is great for maintaining work productivity.


Find your center. Meditation is a great way to find your focus and lower stress levels. If you’re not sure how to start saying Om effectively, check out some of the many apps created to make mindfulness simple – Headspace is a good (and free) meditation app.


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