Because modern ZOO-directors know more about the inborn needs of their animals, than company-directors about the innate needs of people… the cages in modern zoos are better for animals, than modern offices for people.
Working in an open plan office reduces your intellectual productivity very significantly. If try to keep up your concentration, you pay the price of spending more energy, having more stress and leaving the office more exhausted than in an office with less distraction. The negative impact of these distractions that are outside of your control, is worsened by the distractions that you should control yourself: especially email, social media and surfing the web.
To know if your office is fit for the work you do is very simple: do the telephone test. If you need attention and concentration to do intellectual work, and you can hear other people making phone calls… then you are in the wrong office.
You're a knowledge worker or a manager of these brainworkers. But what do you know that’s really practically useful about your most important instrument for your work and success; your brain? For 99% of the professionals the answer is: NOTHING! What do you know about the effect on your brain, your intellectual productivity and wellbeing, of the improper use of your wonderful information and communication technology, to always be online, multitasking, constant stress, lack of sleep and ... poorly designed open offices?
In my book “BRAINCHAINS. Discover your brain and unleash its full potential in a hyperconnected multitasking world” I explain some essentials about your thinking brain, the ways you unknowingly chain it and the solutions (see www.brainchains.info) . As a result of the success of this book, I am all the time invited by companies and other organizations, for workshops and presentations about these "BrainChains". Then, too often I am kindly requested not to talk about the negative impact of open offices, a request I usually ignore, because the issue is much too important for the productivity and health of modern office workers.
I learned in the past five years that most executives are totally ignorant about the crystal-clear scientific conclusions about the negative effects of open offices… or do they knowingly choose a very short term ostrich policy, even if it undermines the long term productivity and wellbeing of their employees.
I prefer to choose the ignorance-hypothesis. Therefore, in this booklet I summarize the research of others and myself and give my own conclusions. Originally, this was a chapter of my book “BrainChains”. In the final stages of writing “BrainChains” however, I realized that my book is about counterproductive issues and behaviors that can you can and should control yourself, while your office is outside your influence. Therefore I removed the chapter and turned it into this separate booklet. To help you to spread the knowledge, this booklet is FREE TO COPY AND DISTRIBUTE under the Creative Commons Copyright rules, but please respect the many hours of work I have invested in researching the subject and writing the text, by properly referring to the source when you distribute this text.
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About the Author
Prof Dr Theo Compernolle MD. PhD. tis an independent international consultant, executive (team)coach, trainer and key-note speaker. He consults, teaches and coaches professionals, managers and executives in a wide range of (multi)national companies, professional services firms and training institutions in many different cultures and countries. He holds these sessions in English, Dutch and French. He is an adjunct professor at the CEDEP European Centre for Executive Development. He teaches and coaches in the executive programs of business schools like INSEAD in France and TIASNIMBAS in the Netherlands. He has held the positions of Suez Chair in Leadership and Personal Development at the Solvay Business School, Adjunct Professor at INSEAD, visiting professor at several business schools and Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam. As a medical doctor, neuro-psychiatrist, psychotherapist and business consultant, Theo studies research from very different fields including medicine, biology, psychology, neurology, physiology and management. He then burns the midnight oil to integrate this information into a coherent whole and to find simple ways to pass on this knowledge, in a memorable way, to all kinds of professionals. His clients often call his sessions “Science made simple and useful”. Theo was first drawn into the world of business after the publication of his PhD about stress caused quite a stir in the media. Since then he has become an expert on the emotional and relational aspects of leadership and enhancing the resilience of executives, executive teams, organizations and families with a business, especially in times of conflict, stress and change. He has published several non-fiction books and more than a hundred scientific articles. Three of his books ao. "STRESS: FRIEND AND FOE. Vital Stress Management at work and in the family" became bestsellers and long-sellers. He is just finished his latest book “'BRAINCHAINS. Discover your brain to unleash your performance in a hyperconnected multitasking world.” Available from Amazon.com, Createspace https://www.createspace.com/4731062 or a bookshop near you. He has also been the director of several inpatient and outpatient departments. Theo gained a Ph.D. on his research into stress from the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands). He is certified as a psychotherapist and as medical specialist in neuropsychiatry and psychotherapy. He trained at the universities of Amsterdam (The Ne¬therlands), Leiden (The Netherlands) and Pennsylvania (USA) where he was a fellow. He graduated as a Medical Doctor from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).