Can We Get a Little Peace and Quiet?

March 21st, 2017

Is the open industrial office just part of a myth about improving productivity? After a survey of over 2,000 high-performance employees from industries hardware, IT, software, finance, marketing and manufacturing, it turns out that quiet work spaces might be the most effective way to enhance productivity out of your team. We’ve written a lot about the importance of getting into a flow for higher productivity,  and we know that distractions are detrimental to output. So the next time you find yourself in a wide open office, keep in mind that collaboration and discussion might actually stifle certain employees. We’ve all gotten into a zone before where we feel unstoppable, but sometimes your flow can be interrupted by someone else’s questions or conversation. At 10x Management, we encourage our freelancers to work in the environment that works best for them. Sometimes this means working remotely where they can be free from office distractions. Whatever works for them. Check out an excerpt of this great article below, and read the full article here.

1) Distractions kill HPE productivity.
This is obvious and widely discussed. Distractions have to be addressed as the single largest detriment to high-performance employee productivity. If an HPE requires up to 25 minutes to regain focus after an interruption, and we allow for four interruptions per day for our HPEs, that sets the potential for 100 minutes (almost two hours) of wasted time each day.

2) Poor productivity hurts our products and time-to-market.
If our most talented employees are fighting an uphill battle against constant distractions and interruptions, our end products will suffer. Simple.

3) Generally speaking, our offices are too open.
There are too many visual and auditory distractions. We need more normalized codes of conduct, thoughtfully walled space, visual partitions, alcoves, private work rooms, and vastly more sound suppression. We need space where our HPEs can engage and retreat as needed. We need fluid space with an emphasis on predictability and calm.

4) We need to slow down and listen to our people.
Our high-performance employees are already showing us what they need, but are we really listening? Sadly if we are unable to tune in, their need for calm space and ethical process will often become clear only in hindsight. Similar to customers choosing to shop elsewhere, our HPEs vote with their allegiance and are quite comfortable finding new jobs—leaving us to pick up the organizational tab which is vastly more expensive than we might think.

If you like this article, you might enjoy reading How I Stay Up-To-Date as A Developer