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Five open office secrets that will help you concentrate

We all know that feeling: You are sitting in your favorite coffee shop and after an hour of concentrated work you look up from your laptop and try to figure out why is it that your focus is stronger than ever, even though you’re in this noisy place.

This blog post reveals and explains the secrets behind finding your focus in an open office.

Apparently, it’s not the noise. Actually the person making the noise and your relationship to the noise is the problem. Research shows that a little noise in the background is good for the mind to focus on creative tasks as long as we don’t get interrupted. Think about it: It’s a different dynamic when your colleagues are having a discussion in the background versus a couple of strangers in a coffee shop. Your are most likely to eavesdrop on your colleagues and (unwillingly) develop an opinion about the matter.

The exact right level of background noise (70 decibels) disrupts the brain just a little so our mind can wander without losing focus. When distracted, the brain doesn’t have room to judge or analyze, so out-of-the-box ideas have the freedom to pop up in your unconsciousness.

In light of all this, here are five open office secrets from us that will help you concentrate:


Crank up the Binaural beats on your office Sonos system. Binaural beats such as white- or brown noise have a repetitive beat and will create a certain brainwave that gets you in the meditative state you need to focus. Also some piano music will provide the office with a peaceful atmosphere that forces people’s subconscious to concentrate and not talk.

Work remotely (at least one day a week):

Get your creative juices flowing and request at least one day to work remotely. Make a list of your most creative tasks and save them for your remote work day. Make sure you are able to back up your request by having bullet points at hand that explain why you are not able to focus in the office while working on certain tasks. Be appreciative when your request gets approved. Not every company embraces the digital nomad lifestyle (yet).

Out of your comfort zone:

When your brain isn’t interacting with new things it lives in a state of autopilot. We are not saying you should use your lunch break to go skydiving, but a new face, drink, or even a different chair gets the productive blood pumping. A coffee shop happens to be a good example of a place where you have just the right amount of distraction. Sit back every ten minutes and enjoy your surroundings, which are changing every time a new person comes in, and let your brain wander into its creative productive state.

The exact right level of background noise (70 decibels) disrupts the brain just a little so our mind can wander without losing focus.

Create more hangout spots:

Have your employer provide more hang out spots around the office to create a coffee shop atmosphere, or try hot-desking like us at Clay, so you have the possibility to sit in another spot in the office each day. You will speak to other colleagues than you usually do and will see the workspace in a different light, which will make you more appreciative of your job. You can even provide the office with some cofeeshop sounds to trick your brain into thinking you are actually in a coffee shop.

Put on your headphones:

Having your headphones on every hour of the day is probably not a good idea, but noise-cancelling headphones are in a league of their own. These headphones will let the open office sounds fade away so you can focus on your important task without having to move. Bose is one of our favorites at the office if you are looking for noise cancelling. It’s definitely worth the investment if your job demands a lot of focus work.

There are several ways to help you concentrate. If you are in search of the perfect space to do your most important work and you happen to be in Amsterdam, make sure to take a look at these amazing coworking spaces

Looking for more than another space, but another job? Reach out to us on Stackoverflow or Homerun and #becomeabrick!