Work Related : How to Survive Open-plan Office

I'm currently working in a new-born start-up company. 
They are great, flexible and full of high hopes. I have new space to explore and need to be ready with everything design-oriented from simple things like social media posts to complicated stuffs like full company branding and UI design. I love the challenge !

But there's a perk in working with a group of startupper; we are currently working in an open-plan office. We don't have our own permanent table and we sit together : from the bosses to the calling center people or admin or even designer *that's me! . They are great people, all of the founders are like-minded enthusiasts, and the team members are friendly and nice. And that's great, I can't deny that. 

But the thing is, I am an introvert.
Being an introvert, I work efficiently in an environment with minimal attention and distraction. I love silence and less people to talk to during my 'focus' time. I am not making excuses, I'm trying to find balance in adapting to my new working environment and feeling good at work.


Here's what I try to do and maybe you can try it too :

1. Go lunch by yourself :
For several times a week, try to go out for lunch  + short tea time by yourself. You can bring books to read or bring your notebook to doodle stuffs or you can just try to enjoy your lunch doing nothing but eating. That's what I do most of the days, I sometimes go out with them to socialize a bit. But most of the time, I spend my lunch hour reading and eating alone. I have my favorite hiding spots and take the lunch hour break quite seriously.

2. Earphone + Spotify are your bestfriends :
You are easily distracted, I understand. You need to bring your earphone/headphone to work everyday, and download Spotify on your workstation so it's easier for you to choose playlist *youtube uses to much time and ads. You'll have unlimited music libraries for you to listen to. I know it is hard to listen to everyone all at once and having auras accumulated from many peoples around you while you are focusing on your work. So use your music well.

3. Recharge during the weekend :
Stay at home during weekends. You need it, especially if you feel slightly depressed and annoyed with everyone. Maaaybe you don't know it yet, recharging at home doing little things by yourself or with your favorite person will definitely help you recharge. Avoid crowds, avoid malls, avoid events. After 2 days of silent therapy on weekend, you'll be ready for work on Monday.

4. Try to find your spot a bit farther from the 'group' :
In an open-plan office, everyone can sit anywhere. Avoid tables with group of colleagues, and try to find one spot farther than any groups. If you notice, there are people who will sit in with groups all the time, and there will be people who will sit alone. Note that most of the time, people in groups are extroverts - they need people, and people who keep on choosing to sit alone far from groups are usually introverts. Some might be ambiverts, they are naturally adaptable to anything so I won't focus much on them. Remember to respect each other's space.

5. Choose your participation
I understand that most of us are a bit off from the track and we keep to ourselves most of the time. You are in a growing community, choose activities to participate with your colleagues. So it will balance out, the extroverts will feel the joy of people every now and then, and the introverts will get their space as well.


By far, people know I go out for lunch, bringing my book most of the afternoons and I go down to places without asking anyone during tea break - they haven't asked me anything yet other than mentioning "you go MIA with your book". I hope they will understand :)

Here is an illustrated guide I found online :
An Illustrated Guide to Introverts in a Start-up by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West

Here is the list that wrote everything about me (hah hah hah!):
22 Signs You're Actually An Introvert


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