Do you find modern office life distracting? I know I do. A lot of the blame is probably down to the increasingly large numbers of ways that people can communicate with you.
In the olden days, you could work away perhaps with the distraction of perhaps a visitor or a telegram. Then came telephones and people could call you when they liked. Then faxes, then mobiles, then email, then the web, then instant messages, then Facebook and then Twitter. As our digital lives have become more complicated, so too has the overload our brains are facing.
To see if all these distractions were really changing the way I think, I went to Mindlabs in Brighton to try doing a really mundane office task. But it was a task with a difference, my brain was hooked up to scanner and this would measure my brainwaves while I tried to work while being driven mad by digital distractions.
Aside from looking ridiculous in the brain cap, which had squishy, horrible lubricant between my hair and the cap, I did get really stressed out trying to work and being driven crazy by distractions.
The brainwave scans showed that I was having to maintain an increased level of concentration and stress and I guess this proves that we’re all getting pretty stressed at work and it’s likely decreasing, not increasing, our productivity.
The solution? Well some companies like ATOS are being radical. They’re abandoning internal email to replace with threaded instant message discussions, a bit like Facebook. It means you can scroll through everyone’s thoughts on a subject in one place and chose to mute discussions you’re not that interested in right now.
Employers increasingly expect us to respond immediately at any time of day to emails - clients and contacts do too. Scientists say that this is leading to increased absenteeism from work.
The solution? Maybe cutting us off from our digital lives, at least for a few hours a day to get some real work done
Follow @benjamincohen on Twitter.
Continue reading and comment