There have been plenty of articles lately talking about how bad open offices are. I completely agree with these complaints, but I’m hard pressed to find a place that doesn’t use them. To make the best out of a bad situation, I had to come up with a solution to make me productive again. You see, there are times when you really need to be in the zone to get things done and open office floor plans can interfere with that.
For example, maybe you’re trying to refactor a complex piece of spaghetti code and you have to keep a lot of it in your head at once. At the same time you overhear someone from HR joking with another developer and it keeps breaking your concentration. Here are the two tools I use to ignore distractions like these:
These two babies are worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, that’s what they’ll cost you. I paid $300 for my noise canceling headphones but they are worth every penny. They allow me to cancel out the noise of everyone around me and focus on what I’m doing. The rechargeable batteries ensure that I can always use my headphones when I need to.
I bought my headphones from Bose and they have this strange property where they seem to break down exactly when the warranty has ended. Fortunately, the Bose customer service is excellent and they will even replace the headphones if the warranty has recently expired. If it has expired too long ago, you can buy another one at a discounted rate by calling their customer service.
Open offices give you constant distractions, but with a pair of noise canceling headphones and unlimited batteries, you can regain your ability to concentrate again. I’d rather have a quiet place to work and some privacy, but this is making the best of a bad situation.