18 January 2014

The New Yorker: “The Open-Office Trap”

But the most problematic aspect of the open office may be physical rather than psychological: simple noise. In laboratory settings, noise has been repeatedly tied to reduced cognitive performance. The psychologist Nick Perham, who studies the effect of sound on how we think, has found that office commotion impairs workers’ ability to recall information, and even to do basic arithmetic. Listening to music to block out the office intrusion doesn’t help: even that, Perham found, impairs our mental acuity. Exposure to noise in an office may also take a toll on the health of employees. In a study by the Cornell University psychologists Gary Evans and Dana Johnson, clerical workers who were exposed to open-office noise for three hours had increased levels of epinephrine—a hormone that we often call adrenaline, associated with the so-called fight-or-flight response. What’s more, Evans and Johnson discovered that people in noisy environments made fewer ergonomic adjustments than they would in private, causing increased physical strain. The subjects subsequently attempted to solve fewer puzzles than they had after working in a quiet environment; in other words, they became less motivated and less creative.

Maria Konnikova

Now this is an article I should share with my superiors at work! Not that they would do anything about it, after all having an open office means more people crammed in less space, so less costs for the company. Creativity be damned!

1 comment:

  1. The worst offenders are the new entrepreneurs, who brag about having..."seamless and instant communications, between workers, to increase the efficiency, of collective organization, and...blah...blah...blah!"
    Stupidity is still rampant, and alive even in the new, and "supposedly" smarter, and more "adept" millennial entrepreneurs, in changing the work environment to modern standards, meaning they are idiots creating new industries without a clue about what productivity truly is, and likewise increase it. Stupidity is still alive and very much practiced by the new millennial..idiots! I'll keep that as a bumpersticker. Good to to know that most of them, are just as highly dumb as the older, and "old fashioned" industries, and workers these new "idjits" criticize!