Workspaces are tricky beasts: We spend a hell of a lot of our waking hours in them, and yet there’s still a kinda share-house thing going on, where we’re forced to share communal space with other human beings, whether we like it or not. Who’s turn is it to empty the paper recycling? Where has all the butter and salad dressing gone? And can we pleeeeease stop listening to Beyonce 24/7?
Here are 5 essential tips for dealing with hectic workspaces, from creating your own haven amongst the chaos, to managing stress when it all gets a bit much.
#1: Designate A No-Noise Zone
One of the most intrusive and distracting things in a workplace is sound. Whether it’s other colleagues’ conversations, delivery people coming and going, or the office playlist that’s driving you crazy, make sure that there’s a quiet space that you can move to when you need time to focus. And if there’s not already a designated area, perhaps bring it up at your next meeting—simple rules about a specific space or time for loud group meetings and conference calls can go a long way.
#2: Fill Your Area With Calming, Positive Touch-Points...i.e: Stuff You Love
Whether it’s a marble candle, a postcard from your last holiday, or a Post It note scribble that always makes you laugh, make sure your own space has a few nice touches to pick you up when you need it. We’re not talking every knick-knack in Fenton & Fenton, but a handful of small touches can make your space a little more homely but still office-appropriate. (For me, this is Aesop’s Flight Therapy de-stressing pulse point oil… Instant relief!) Then remember to turn to those positive touch-points when you most need them.
#3: Find An Outlet For Your Frustrations That ISN’T Complaining
Sure, we all need to sound off about that one task we hate, but are you the person in your workspace who’s always looking at tasks in a negative light? Accept the things that you can’t change, even if they get to you every day (did your boss paint the office a lurid orange? It’s probably there to stay…), and find an outlet for your frustrations that doesn’t drag others down. Negative vibes spread faster than Nutella on freshly toasted sourdough, so the next time you’re thinking of voicing a downer, why not write it on a Post It, scrumple it up, then throw it into the bin instead?
#4: Be As Organized And Communicative As Possible
One of the biggest influencers in hectic workspaces is the introduction of a curveball when nobody is expecting it. That could be a surprise visit from maintenance, which means no wifi for the day, or a short-notice meeting ot bash out a project before sundown. If you are the lead on any of these potential curveballs, it’s important to be as organized and communicative as you can be. Tee up meetings a day or two in advance, keep people informed of anything that might affect their workload or schedule, and ask for help as soon as you realize you need it, not ten minutes before a project deadline!
#5: Apply The ‘Campsite Rule’ To All Shared Spaces
Never heard of the campsite rule? Always leave the area in better condition than you found it. This is a fantastic motto when it comes to shared meeting rooms, workplace kitchens, and anywhere else that’s used by other colleagues as well as yourself, such as stationery drawers and toolboxes. Sick of that empty Coke Zero tin that’s been festering in the meeting room for a fortnight? Frustrated that every time you go to grab a laptop charger, you spend half an hour untangling a web of cables? Put the can in the bin, take time at the end of the day to tidy drawers, and sooner or later you’ll have set new standards for office etiquette.
Need more life hacks? Watch out for our bi-weekly Nailed It columns, giving you tips and tricks on all the important things in life!
Image credit: Twyla Mae.