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I work in open space so I am in one room with about 15 next persons. Many times they are talking together and it is hard to concentrate to work. I can partly solve it by headphones and music or noise generator, but anyway, it is not good to listen anything for about 8 hours every day. It is like an audio smog for our brain.

Therefore I thought about some polite way, how to explain other people, that they work in open space so it would be nice to respect each other. I don't like the method of complaining or arguing, much better is to motivate another and to give real reasons. Are they some courses, trainings or presentations which show the best behavior in open space?

The rules or hints can be for example:

  • speak noiselessly and respect, that other colleagues are working
  • use the meeting room for discussion with colleagues, solving problems, meetings, stand-ups (maybe company with open space should have more meeting rooms, or another rooms where people can freely talk - kitchen, the hall)
  • try to close the doors silently, since it is very disturbing when the doors are loudly closed one per minute
  • behave in working place (open space) professionally, as your colleagues are working, take it serious

Does something like this exist? Of course, more complex and based on some research and studies what is good to do and what is good to prevent in open space. Is there a way how to motivate another people in open space to collaborate? Did you met anything like this in your company? Some coach or company policy?

Thank you

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Personally I find it is better to learn to ignore noise. I worked in an open space office with 20 people and phones ringing and radio blaring country music and constant conversations and you just learn to tune it out. – HLGEM Mar 6 '13 at 16:17
Where did you come up with the fact that it is not good to listen to something 8 hours per day? We are always listening to something. – idiotguy Mar 6 '13 at 17:02


I think it could be difficult to answer your question. Most of solutions to the problem are controversial in one way or another.

From my experience (11 people in much to small office) if you want to have your work done, you have to go to strict rules BUT start from yourself.

In my room I have such problems like an open windows. I sit on the middle and always draft goes through my legs and but nobody cares. Sometimes I want to open or close windows. I always ask everybody in the room if this is ok with them. After a few months they started to ask me too.

When they have discussion I always put my headphones on and they notice it. They started to go to corridor after about half year.

If my mobile rings, I never take it in the room. People started to do so too.

There are this things that if you start to do by yourself, you teach others. Unfortunately there two weak points. First, You have to be patient. Second, if you miss your rules once, do not expect others to respect them.


It also could be a good idea to set a meeting and explain everyone's point and set your office private rules, write them and stick on the doors. If you have anyone new, it will be easier to clarify the rules on the beginning.

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Check out this article which lists a number of DOs and DON'Ts in open office space environments with cubicles -- many of them appear relevant to any open office space environment. This similar article may also be relevant to you.

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Answers that provide references to external material can be helpful, but because links can break and because many people who find this answer may not follow them it would be helpful to expand on this answer with a synopsis of the links. Just enough for a reader to be interested enough to follow them. – Adam Wuerl Mar 10 '13 at 20:54
@Adam Wuerl: You are right; that would improve the quality of the answer. However, I don't have the time to do this now. – Gruber Mar 11 '13 at 10:16

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