28 September 2018 | Kevin Stanley
A highlight of the final day of the CoreNet Global Summit in Madrid on Friday (28 September) was a research-led presentation by Nick Lettink of YNNO and Yvette Tietema of Saint-Gobain Ecophon on the effects of distractions in the workplace.
Lettink and Tietema argued that distractions, constant interruptions and chiming tones in the workplace lead to people being unable to focus on their work.
Focused on dynamic, activity-based working environments with a strong emphasis on collaboration and interaction the presentation explored how environmental and individual factors affect concentration, particularly when people are engaged in focused activity.
The research, which fielded data from 255 respondents, looked at the need for single-tasking environments in the workplace, as well as those for multi-tasking. Many respondents had concluded that there is an overemphasis on interaction and collaboration in the built environment, perhaps to the detriment of undertaking complex tasks, as performance may be significantly impacted because of the associated distractions.
Significant workplace distractors identified included acoustics (and particularly high speech intelligibility), privacy (the selective control to access oneself or the group), and visual distractions.
The presentation also noted that as well as causing distraction, environmental issues including noise may also have subconscious effects on the human body that continue long after the working day has ended.