3 Ways to Make An Open Office Work

Cancel out noises

Though Quorum Federal Credit Union’s Purchase headquarters is a completely open layout, you could hear a pin drop in the call center. Why? Piped-in white noise throughout the office muffles conversations and ringing phones. Follow their lead by getting a personal white-noise machine for your desk to muffle excess noises.

Prevent lingering smells

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Follow this simple rule: If you wouldn’t want to smell it, don’t subject your colleagues to the stench, says Daniella DiMartino of Buzz Creators in Valhalla, whose staffers practice this approach. (And they keep room spray handy should anyone break this unofficial rule.) In other words, no heating up leftover fish dinners, please. 

Give employees personal space

Heineken USA’s White Plains headquarters utilizes an open layout. Since they knew employees would need space for individual conversations and phone calls, they have “quiet spaces available for calls and quick meetings,” says Jacqueline Leahy, Heineken’s employee communications manager.