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Does Teamwork Lead to Distraction?

General Comments April 12th 2012

In the modern working environment more and more companies are choosing to have open plan work areas instead of the closed offices or cubicle style office environments because teamwork and group collaborations are one of the most important factors in most businesses. The problem is however, that they are also expected to complete individual work as efficiently and in the same amount of time as before. So the problem arises that does all this collaborative work lead to distractions?

The problem is that employees are encouraged to stay in the office and sit at their office desk so that they are available to the team but with the current with the trend of open plan offices becoming increasingly more and more popular, employees are becoming distracted. So where do they go to get individual work done?

Tony Schwartz, author of the Energy Project believes that workplace disruptions are one of the major reasons that 25-50% of people are feeling overwhelmed at work. Schwartz claims that “The biggest cost of being distracted is to your productivity,”

Having said this, having an open plan office does have its advantages apart from lending itself to a more team based working environment.

There are benefits to having an open plan office; the most notable is the cost to set up and as your business progresses, the cost of reconfiguring the office and the office furniture. As your business grows you are going to want to buy more office chairs and office desks. The cost of fitting these and configuring them into an office will be considerably cheaper in an open plan office as there are no walls or office partitions to move.

The best way to plan an open office is to find a happy medium between the two. Use freestanding office screens to create break out areas and divide different teams in the office to avoid distractions between the teams to keep productivity at a maximum.

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