Distraction Free Workplace Zones Increase Productivity

distraction free workplace

Imaginations Filling The Workplace

In the near future creating a Distraction Free Workplace by morphing our current spaces into soundproof offices that diminish much of today’s office noise is not the answer. First the cost alone of retrofitting millions of offices into a something mimicking a trailer park is not going to happen, and second most people believe that the open space office setup works best to improve collaboration, creative flow and innovation. Lastly much of the workplace distraction is created by technology and not your coworker.

Distraction wasn’t invented in the last 20 years, but it has been hugely amplified with our increased tethering of cell phones and tablets to our existence. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and their ilk now demand our attention 24/7 and yes they chatter at us while we sleep with back-lit notifications that disrupt our sleep patterns.

Add to this hub of distraction the office phones, coworker crosstalk , official and not so official email streaming in like Niagara Falls, and a deeply chaotic picture emerges. Various estimates put the loss of productivity at $650 billion to $1 trillion dollars each year in the U.S. alone.

“My imagination functions much better
when I don’t have to speak to people.”

― Patricia Highsmith

The question becomes how do we in today’s business environment deal with the constant noise and distractions cutting into creative flow and ultimately productivity?

Taming the notifications beast would go a long way toward increasing the productivity, focus and attention of everyone in the workplace.

One huge concern is how we are losing our ability to focus as our attention is rapidly shifted from one thing to the next in what seems like a never ending merry-go-round. Studies have shown we are being interrupted nearly once every 3 minutes in the workplace, regaining optimum focus requires nearly 20 minutes.The studies are suggesting, in today’s busy open office few of us ever reach our most productive level of focus and concentration.

For teams struggling to communicate on important projects requiring new levels of creative and innovative dialogue and collaboration the above sobering thoughts are just distractions iceberg.

I’ve added s short video (distraction) with a bit of humor to an otherwise serious subject.

dialogue expands creativity


Ok, I’ve shared with you a a few thoughts on the subject of why we may need to seriously think about creating distraction free workplace zones so what’s next?

  1. Email Can Wait:  Some companies have implemented a policy of shifting away from emails for urgent issues by moving important communication back to the phone. This step means people no longer need to frequently check interoffice email as often because email can wait
  2. No Devices:  Companies such as Ebay are experimenting with no devices allowed in meetings. This may go a long way toward engaging interaction and creative dialogue in meetings.
  3. Fewer Projects:  Some companies are setting limits to how many projects each person can be attached to in an attempt to lower the levels of distraction caused by the stress of too many directions.
  4. No Noise Zones:  One way to cut out distractions is to set aside rooms without WIFI where people can sit and work for a couple of hours a day if needed. When someone is working in the room their whereabouts is recorded as quiet and they are not expected to answer emails or requests during the time in the room.
  5. Mindfulness Classes:  A growing trend in many businesses worldwide is for companies to make mindfulness classes available onsite for employees. The benefits to increased concentration and attention are well documented.

“In order to be open to creativity,
one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude.
One must overcome the fear of being alone.”

― Rollo May

The above ideas are just a few on a growing list of recognizing the need for a distraction free workplace to improve focus, attention and well-being of employees leading to both higher productivity and both happier employees and customers.

1 Comment

  1. Nishadha on February 29, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Some very interesting points. We have implemented the first two in our office. Once we see that notification in email its almost impossible to ignore it. Now once we check emails in the morning or in your selected time we can close it. We’re a small startup team so a Skype message is more than enough for us. Not sure how effective this will be for large companies with many departments etc.

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