LONDON, September 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Office workers are overwhelmed with distraction, mainly due to a lack of understanding of how to manage attention in the workplace.
This is the major finding of the latest Steelcase research, a meta-analysis of neuroscience and cognitive research which integrates discoveries from experts with the Steelcase's own ongoing investigations into workers' behaviours and the changing nature of work.
"The average worker is interrupted or distracted every three minutes and it takes them 23 minutes to return to a task after being interrupted," said Bostjan Ljubic, vice president of Steelcase UK and Ireland. "Distractions and the inability to focus negatively effects productivity, engagement, wellbeing and overall performance in organisations. We long to be more effective, but the harder we try, the more tired our brains become. Attention meltdowns are epidemic because workers do not understand what attention is, how to manage it or have access to the best places to support their tasks."
The research findings have major significance for UK businesses. Due to high real-estate costs, especially in London, the UK has become a champion of offices with non-assigned workstations, meaning that workplaces are often very crowded.
Despite clear dissatisfaction with many aspects of their workplaces, the research shows that workers in the UK remain relatively engaged but generally lag behind global averages when it comes to working in teams without disruption, choosing to work, as well as concentrating and feeling relaxed in the workplace.
The research findings also reveal that the brain has finite energy capacity, using 20% of the body's energy. This makes it physiologically impossible for anyone to engage in eight straight hours of controlled or focused attention and meet any quality or quantity outputs.
"By changing our existing habits, and the spaces we use, we can gain more control of our brains and our lives. As we become more knowledgeable about how our brains work and more attuned to the ebb and flow of our attention, it becomes easier to recognise what our brains need when. We can create spaces that help people focus, regenerate and inspire and activate their brains and ultimately think better," continued Ljubic.
By recognising the limitations of our brains as well as its incredible potential, it's possible to create workplaces that help people think better and, in so doing, optimize the performance and wellbeing of each person, every team and entire enterprises.
Clare Ambrosino, +44(0)207-710-0020, email@example.com