The negative impact of ‘open plan’ offices and other distractions, was the topic of a recent article in CNN Money. Between multi-tasking, interruptions and shrinking cubicles, a series of recent studies have found that employees are becoming more and more distracted. Here are some of the findings:
1. There is a lot of ‘non work’ in our work days. A survey conducted by project management software developer, AtTask, found that workers were spending an estimated 46% of their days doing non-work related tasks.
2. The cubicle is shrinking. Okay, maybe you already knew this, but did you know by how much? According to Jacobs, a design and workspace construction firm, what was whopping 80 square feet back in 1992, has now shrunk to a not-so-whopping 32 square feet. That means people are closer to each other than ever before and more likely to be distracted by all the things people naturally do to distract — voices, aroma of home cooked meals, throat clearing, etc.
3. Interruptions are more ‘disruptive’ than ever. A study conducted by the University of California, Irvine, found that interruptions cause workers to switch focus from one task to another every 10.5 seconds. Then, according to the study, it takes another 23 minutes to get back on task!
How do these findings give traditional business centers a potential leg up over co-working spaces? The answer: open floor plans, thought by many to contribute even more to the distraction level. Not only are co-workers elbows distance away, in an open floor plan these distractions have no cubicle walls to buffer them.
Business center owners and operators should take note of these studies and consider adding some of these facts and figures into their marketing and promotion strategies. Many prospective occupants may be taken in by the trendiness and attractiveness of many co-working spaces; not taking the time to think through the possible distractions that come with those great wide open spaces.
To be fair, a counter argument could be made by co-working space owners and operators, that their floor plans anticipate the ‘distraction’ element and have planned their build-outs to accommodate both active collaborators and focusers, providing both large interactive areas as well as quiet corners for those seeking peace and quiet.
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One more interesting fact. The most distracting, disruptive activity of all, according to market research firm, Radicati Group? Emails. But we already knew that.Share this article