Pre-COVID, there was growing research on the open space work environment in terms of whether the pendulum had swung too far in the opposite direction from when there were walls and offices that separated us from each other.
In a world where open space work environments have become the norm, it is safe to say that the workplace is a more frenetic environment – far more prone to attention deficit syndrome culturally. Neurologically and psychologically, there is such a thing as ‘over-stimulation.’ During lock-down, for those of us who had to work virtually, we got a real feel for how much more productive you can be by minimising distractions, constant interruptions, and excess stimulation.
Now that teams are pulling back together on-site with each other, one tangible observation is that the sense of urgency and pace have relaxed a bit and things aren’t moving as quickly as they did when people were working virtually. Now that most of us have had the chance to experience both work modes, it has become a real conversation about whether open space may, in fact, work against being able to deliver stuff faster than if we’re all working from our bedrooms! The three major culprits that add to psychological clutter in our day are: (1) constant bombardment of emails, (2) constant interruptions, (3) endless, useless meetings.