3 Culprits that Sabotage Focus Work

The top three culprits that sabotage focus work are distractions, interference, and interruptions. They come in the form of external influences, like people or activities around you, or internal stressors, like hunger and fatigue. All of these can disrupt your brain’s ability to focus.


DISTRACTIONS:

When unexpected, off-task information captures our attention


INTERFERENCE:

When off-task information gets confused with task information


INTERRUPTIONS:

When a distraction or interference pulls us off a task entirely to start a new task.

Workspace Design for Insulated Focus

In the built environment, workspace features that communicate where specific activities take place are essential. We call this legibility—and certain characteristics of the floorplate contribute to it. Defining the spaces where focus work occurs helps people manage visual and auditory distractions, interference and interruptions so they can perform their best.

Appropriate Solutions

Science tells us there is no one size fits all solution: Building a workplace strategy to include insulating focus work starts with organizational culture to understand what people value. Then, carefully consider the overall arrangement and adjacency of the various activity zones—from quiet to active—in the floorplate.

Organizational & Team Culture Implications

Culture is the personality of an organization, comprised of values, assumptions, and artifacts. It is embodied in space design because the space communicates what is valued.

Building a workplace strategy to include insulating focus work starts with culture. It involves identifying and addressing how cultural norms, the overall built environment, and supportive technology all influence each other.

  1. Organizational Culture
  2. Norms
  3. Legible Spaces
  4. Technology

Workspace Design Implications

Based on our acoustics research, noise levels for an organization are the top consideration in designing spaces. Floorplate, adjacency features and workspace characteristics should communicate where specific work activities can take place, effectively managing auditory and visual distractions and interference. Carefully consider overall arrangement and adjacency of the various activity zones—from quiet to active—in the floorplate.

  1. Quiet Zones 
  2. Active Zones
  3. Workstyles
  4. Unassigned  Private Spaces
  5. Confidential Speech
  6. Absorptive Materials 
  7. Visual Barriers
  8. Visual Orientation
  9. User Control
  10. Recharge Spaces

Download our Interactive Design Guide to help you create spaces where people can focus.

DOWNLOAD INTERACTIVE DESIGN GUIDE

Related Content

Supporting Products

Accessories Storage Seating Architectural Interiors Workspaces
Haworth Belong Screen in red color on wood desk with red chair

Belong Privacy Screens

Haworth

Beside storage unit at individual workspace with gray Zody chair.

Beside Storage Pantry

Haworth

Haworth Cabana Lounge in blue connecting to one another

Cabana Lounge

Haworth

Windowseat

Haworth

Haworth Enclose Wall in mock private office space with 2 desks and chairs for private work space

Enclose

Haworth

Haworth Compose Beam Workspace divider in mock office space with height adjustable desks

Compose Beam

Haworth

Haworth Openest Privacy Booth with orange seating and laminate desk in grey booth

Openest Privacy Booth

Haworth

Haworth Openest Privacy Desk Booth in grey color with white table

Openest Privacy Desk

Haworth

Haworth Openest Single Desk Booth in grey color with laminate desk

Openest Single Desk

Haworth