10 Rules for Surviving Your Open Plan Office

Know Your Triggers
If your coworker talks loudly on the phone every morning, use that time to get away from your desk and do something else. (Or tell her to be quiet). Fuse/Thinkstock

Here's an easy, simple way to lower your open-plan office frustrations: Identify your triggers — those actions that drive you up the wall — and see if you can work around them. Let's say Paula brings a sack lunch to work twice a week, and spends her entire lunch hour loudly crunching carrots, apples and nuts. It drives you nuts. Rather than stew about it all day, get up and go out to lunch on those days so you won't have to deal with it. Do you get really annoyed when Joe comes into the office every morning and immediately phones a colleague, whom he then engages in a loud, boisterous conversation? Then as soon as Joe arrives, make a beeline for the coffeemaker, go to the restroom or hit the copy machine. Removing your focus from major irritations can actually help blunt their effects quite a bit [source: Boss].

If you can't get away from the distraction, focus on relaxing. The more relaxed you are, the less anger you'll feel. Relaxation techniques include deep breathing, some form of meditation and visualization — not of you lashing out at the offender, but, say, lying on the beach [source: Seltzer].