Thrive in Open-Plan

As an administrative professional, you’re probably used to thriving in the tasks you do. Completing these tasks can be made harder when dealing with the distractions that come with working in an open-plan office. Not to worry, we’ve come up with some great tips to help you focus on being the asset that you are.

Below are 4 ways how you can thrive and not just survive in an open-plan office.

Maintaining your Focus

Creating boundaries in an open-plan office is essential to maintain your focus. Your colleagues will know when not to disturb you and give you your space. Since noise is a common problem in open-plan offices, a good method to drown it out is to is to wear headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones are ideal; however, any generic set of headphones will do the job. Downloading “White Noise” apps like White Noise Lite can also help you maintain your focus for longer by drowning out the distracting conversations around the office. Try White Noise Lite available on iTunes and Google Play:

Working with your Desk Mate

In most open-plan offices, you probably share desk space with another colleague/s. Since your desks are next to each other, you might need to develop a “Work Schedule” that’s accommodating. Administrative tasks such as processing company expenses, are often intensive and require full concentration. Doing these intense tasks while your desk mate responds to their emails is a great example of accommodating each other. Another practical example is your neighbour taking their customer calls while you’re doing something less intense like filing.

Personalising your Space

Working in an open-plan office can make you feel like you have no control over what happens to you. Surrounding yourself with pot plants or photos of loved ones is a great way to create that sense of control and comfort. This will also create a visual barrier, adding to your sense of controlling your immediate environment.

Upcoming Event: Professional Administrators Conference South Africa 2018

Invest in Immune Boosters

Working in an open-plan office means that you’re sharing more than “desk space”. You’re also, unfortunately, sharing germs. Investing in immune boosters might help you fight off any flu symptoms that may be going around the office. Should you get sick don’t slug it out until you eventually get better. Rather see your doctor immediately and stay at home if necessary, before you infect half of the office. After all, it’s unlikely your colleagues will be impressed if they get your bug…

Continuously delivering work of high-quality is demanding for any administrative professional. Working in an open-plan office can make it even more challenging. Just like any other office space, having control of your immediate environment will make it a lot easier for you to focus on your job. If you have control, you will thrive and not just survive in an open-plan office environment!


If you’re keen on discovering more ways to thrive in your open-plan office, the Professional Administrators and Secretaries Conference South Africa (PACSA) is an event you shouldn’t miss! Thriving in an open-plan office will be one of the topics covered at South Africa’s annual premier secretaries and administrators event. Our speakers are all experts in their field, and their invaluable advice will help you with your professional development. PACSA 2018 will be held on 22-24 August 2018 at Sun City and is endorsed OPSA.


PACSA 2018



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