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UX Open Space challenge

SUMMARY: Tips and tricks to keep yourself happy and productive in an Open Space office. Not only for UX designers…

Open Space office is a very interesting phenomenon. On one hand, it reaffirms Aristotelian most popular quote saying we’re social animals, but then on the other puts at stake the peace and quiet of our own personal space. When the latter can really boost productivity, the former is said to improve creativity.

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Instead of changing the building or the interior design, let’s rather take on an open space challenge and maximize the efficiency of our work.

Surrounded by other programmers or designers, with always something going on, you can get really distracted from closing tasks on your agenda, though. Luckily there are some ways which help to cut off the noise and improve your workflow.

Have a clear idea in mind for your day’s schedule.

It would be a financially utopian professional reality where each company would be able to provide separate offices for all the workers. However, in a design environment, it’s crucial to have continuous rounds of feedback and brainstorming. Having other people’s opinion can be fundamental. No matter if it’s the main layout of the webpage, color choice or the size of the logo.

This is why, before kicking off work, think of all the tasks and projects you need to take care of that day. Make a list, check your Asana or Monday and organize your days in blocks. Doing so will help you focus to get things done throughout the day and not get too distracted after talking to coworkers or checking emails.

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Have regular breaks

Although it sounds counterproductive, it’s vital to take regular breaks. We tend to think that times for rest are unuseful and passive. It’s very much the opposite! When you’re taking your mind off work, your brain is still analyzing data and information. To keep yourself focused, you need to regenerate between the intervals of high activity.

Besides, UX designers can spend entire days behind a computer screen and that can result in weakening the blood circulation and diminishing the oxygen supply. Not to mention the back, neck, and eye pain. Next time if you feel like having a rest but can’t get your eyes off that prototype, just remember that frequent breaks equal high results. Stop for a moment, take a deep breath, stand up, stretch and relax your mind and body.

Create your awesome playlist

Music can work miracles. If your colleagues can’t stop talking about a pertinent UX issue or analyzing competitors and you have to finish that wireframing in no time, just play your favorite tune. It can be anything from techno through pop and classical music to some Egyptian traditional sounds as long as that will help you concentrate. There are also many inspirations and work playlists on Spotify or Youtube. Put your headphones on and detach yourself from the outside world while getting in a great mood!

Silence is golden

Open space poses a huge threat to silence. There are so many occasions to talk, chat, and exchange anecdotes all day long. Instead of making comments every once in a while and making your co-workers lose patience, set up a coffee break for everybody or go out for lunch together. You will have the chance to share some laughs and good stories without feeling guilty or in a rush. When you get back to the office, you won’t feel that tempted to start a conversation but ready to hit your task list.

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Off to work!

Accept the open space challenge and embrace all the good things coming from working with a bunch of cool people who share the same professional interests. Get organized, listen to awesome hits, rest regularly and enjoy peaceful food or coffee breaks with some fun stories to tell. The ultimate accomplishment here is to work more efficiently, become less frustrated, and enjoy life!