With all that's on my plate on any given day, I actually love working during this time of year. The majority of my coworkers take the days surrounding the holidays off, so it's a very different work environment. There are only a half dozen others here who, like me, decided to come into the office today. Most of them are located on the floor directly above me, but in the approximately 40' x 75' lower level area where my desk is located (affectionately called the "Garden Level"), I'm completely alone. Believe it or not, that's actually a good thing. This is the one time of the year when I don't have to wear earplugs or headphones to drown out the triggers in my office to focus on my work. It's so wonderful not needing any coping techniques in order to function like a "normal" person at the office.
If you're wondering what I mean by that, during any other time of the year, I'm constantly tortured by "innocuous" sounds around me that don't seem to bother anyone else: soda can tops being opened, crunching of crispy fruits/vegetables/chips, clanking of utensils on chinaware, slurping of coffee, people reading out loud to themselves (especially the hissing of their "s" sounds), the buzz of speakers being played softly, the crinkling of wrappers being opened, pens being clicked or tapped on the desk... But the worst of all... WHISTLING! (Darn that "Whistle While You Work" song!) Those are just the sound triggers! Every day my senses are endlessly bombarded with distracting misophonia triggers - audio, visual, tactile, and sometimes even smell. Although I usually cope by wearing earplugs or blast music through headphones to block annoying sound triggers, when I have to participate in team meetings or go on the phone to speak to clients/reps/contractors/consultants, I'm left completely exposed and helpless to triggers coming at me from all directions.
Don't get me wrong, compared to other firms where I've worked over the years, I like my current firm. The people are genuinely friendly and the design work is challenging. There is one aspect of my firm though that is a double-edged sword to me: the physical environment. My firm strives for good communcation within the teams (something I embrace and wished that my prior firms did better); however, in order to facilitate communication, the dividing partitions between desks/cubicle areas are barely 16" above the desk surface. There's practically no sound insulation at all, which really exacerbates my misophonia. (Having an individual cubicle with 5' high partitions is one of the few aspects of my prior work environment that I miss, even though the communication within that firm was horrendous.)
That's why I enjoy coming into the office during the holiday season instead of taking a personal day off for an extended weekend. Other than the slight blowing sound of the HVAC heating ducts, the occasional sound of footsteps from the floor above, and the soft ticking of my desk clock (which I honestly didn't even notice until I was writing about how quiet it is right now), there's not a trigger to be heard. It's pure heaven compared to what it's like during a normal business day.