You’re probably an introvert if you get uncomfortable at the thought of drop-in visitors, thin cubicle walls and loud neighbors.  Introversion is when someone’s energy grows while alone and diminishes during interactions.  There are different variations of being an introvert- but one thing is consistent with all introverts: they tend to work better alone and with limited interruptions.

You might not have a choice when it comes to working in a cubicle or an open office.  Although we can’t stop your cubicle neighbor from being loud at their own desk, we do have some creative ways to make your space seem a bit more private and comfortable.

Change Your Position to Face the Door

Facing away from the walkway can make you feel vulnerable.  If you can, try turning your desk and computer to face the doorway or walkway so that coworkers can’t easily sneak behind you.

Use mirrors

If you can’t move your desk to face your doorway, place a mirror next to or behind your computer monitor.  You can see behind you by looking into the mirror so you will know if someone is trying to stop in.

Use headphones

Canceling out the noises around you with headphones will decrease other noise distractions. Wearing headphones also discourages your coworkers from dropping in for small talk, which means fewer interruptions.

Decorate with plants

If you leave your desk empty and impersonal, it is hard to be comfortable in your own space.  Add plants to your desk to add a personal touch and feel more at home.

Create noise –fan or heater

If you don’t want to use headphones, another way to drown out the extra noise around you is to place a space heater or fan at your work space.  The constant noise is quiet enough not to bother anyone around you, yet it will still distract you from many other regular noises.

Makeshift door—curtain or divider if your workplace allows

If your workplace allows it, create a divider for the opening of your cubicle with a curtain and a pole.  Keep the curtain open when you are available, or closed when you are hard at work.  This won’t cancel out any noises, but it will give the hint to your neighbors to come back another time.

Email your private messages

An office isn’t the place to make personal calls, so it can be tough if you have to deal with a personal call.  Try to send your personal conversations through emails so that you can maintain a sense of privacy.

Place a whiteboard outside of your work space

Hang a whiteboard outside of your cubicle where your coworkers can leave notes for you.  If you are busy, write on the board for visitors to kindly return at another time, or give a welcome if you are available to chat.

If you work in an office it is unlikely that you can change out of your cubicle.  Open offices are harder to work in as an introvert, but many of these tips can apply in any office setting.  How do you maintain your privacy if your work space doesn’t have a door? Are our tips helpful for introverts in the office?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!