The Most Disruptive Work Environment?
The prize for the most disruptive work environment goes to… the work environment!
The rush to open plan heaven has created a disruptive hell for some salaried thinkers.
People relate in two ways to their working environment.
Inwardly focussed people are not phased, disturbed or drained by untidy desks, chatter, movement or disturbance. They can blank it out and get on with the task oblivious to the outside environment. A good result for them.
Externally focussed people (me) find it hard to concentrate with disturbance, peripheral clutter, distractions and attention grabbers in play. I am very observant – great (done the brain wiring test!), but it also comes with a consequence – ‘I notice everything’. Great in a workshop, where the slightest pick up of a word or expressions sets the conversation free – but bad when it comes down to completing a piece of work in a busy office. There are plenty of externally focussed people struggling to get on in the modern day office.
Don’t get me wrong, open plan has some great benefits; synergy, energy and collaboration – just don’t expect wholesale obedience to the spacial theory usher in a brave new world of productivity.
Everything works best in appropriate measures.
Despite the cost of open plan disruption to those who struggle to stay focused or undisturbed, in an age of universal connectivity people are still attached to the idea of open plan and being seen to be in the office.
I still ‘wrestle’ with clients who are wedded to the office because they feel they should. Yet, ask around where people have their best ideas, clearest thinking or tap into unconscious wisdom and you’ll get answers like; an early morning drive, out for a run, sitting on train, walking the dog, in Costa or in bed! (I should ask in which unusual setting do you have your clearest thinking or productivity?)
Right, being around the players in the office is a necessary part of team development AND changing your environment to change your thinking works too.
Productivity first versus custom and practice. Work where work is best produced.
Some people know that I get on a train, not to go anywhere, but just to blast out a piece of work. It’s not quite train spotting, but getting close.