Why offices can be a sensory nightmare…πŸ–₯

I thought I do a drawing on an issue thats always been close to my heart: the nightmare that is open plan offices. Here is some of the reasons why I struggle…

People bringing in their own smells constantly: ARGH. So many smelly lunches! Strong coffees. Overwhelming perfumes, aftershaves, deodorants. 

Everyone chatting: I cannot filter a conversation happening in front of me if there are also many going on around me. I find it super hard to tune into the closest person to me because i hear everything all at once.

Desks are too close: I need my own personal space (who doesn’t?) and I find open plan offices can sometimes be set-up like call centres where they squish as many people as physically possible into the space. I know this can’t always be avoided but by being so close to other people it can affect how well i work (they might wear strong perfume or aftershave, chat too loudly, have hot smelly lunches at their desk, etc) and this grates on me.

Strong lighting: Strip lighting can be super harsh but also really distracting.

Random desk visitors: FILL ME WITH UTTER FEAR. Please email me! I am super responsive via email I promise. Don’t ring me or visit me at my desk….I know this is easier said than done but I work a million times better if I someone emails me in detail about the work they’d like me to do or schedules in a meeting I can prepare for. I hate it when people just ‘pop’ by my desk even if it’s for a chat…I’m at work and I really (really) don’t want to chat. I just want to do my work and do it well. I know that sounds very anti-social but I am quite anti-social and need structure to my work and day in order to thrive.

Bright clothing: I’ve said it before (in previous posts and in my podcasts!) PLEASE DON’T HANG UP YOUR FLOUROSCENT JACKETS in the office. Cloakroom / changing room = fine but in and open plan environment it is honestly sensory hell. They are beyond distracting and physically upset me (which sounds ridiculous but they take my my entire head).

Also I saw @innocent did a post recently about Disability Pride in July and they mentioned that they don’t employ many people with disclosed disabilities at the moment and they’d like to change that.

They were encouraging people to chat and feedback with input in the comments and I think this drawing is my little contribution as to how companies (especially larger ones) need to be aware of how overwhelming open plan offices can be. It’s great to hear so many companies are moving in the right direction and encouraging the conversation around how to be more accommodating for neurodiverse employees.

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