Ask an introvert to make a list of his or her least favorite things in the universe and open-plan offices are pretty much guaranteed to appear towards the top of the ranking. Too bad these days the vast majority of offices are relatively wall-free.
Quieter types take all sorts of measures to get stuff done despite the distraction-heavy environments they're often forced to work in, from keeping talkative colleagues at bay with headphones (even if nothing is playing through them!) to hiding in broom closets. But thanks to a new gizmo perhaps introverts can soon quit spending so much time and effort on evasive action.
A helmet to protect office introverts
OK, I admit the thing looks like something out of a 1950s beauty salon, but as Mashable reports, it's "a very obvious way to let coworkers know that you're not in the mood to chat."
The gizmo is called the Tomoko and was created by Anna Salonen and Yuki Abe of Finnish firm MottoWasabi. Made of felt, the helmet is designed to be used sitting or standing, and besides being forbidding enough to scare off even your most persistently chatty officemates, it also promises to cancel out their chatter should they dare approach.
In addition, it doubles as a privacy-enhancing computer cover (though I'm betting your boss will probably be more skeptical about what you're really doing if you shroud your laptop in the thing).
Its price is only available on request and its aesthetics are debatable -- it "has been compared to Marvin the Martian's helmet and Sia's hair," Mashable notes. (I think it also has a sort of Darth Vader vibe going as well) -- but if it's effective, I know more than a few introverts that would forget fashion and dare to wear one anyway.
Would you don the Tomako in pursuit of a little bit of peace and quiet?