I was at the point in my workshop where I was explaining the difference between Carrot Life Lenses™ (detail-oriented) and Mountain Life Lenses™ (big-picture focused) when a woman abruptly stood up, marched determinedly to the back of the room and added a commo to a large banner that was hanging on the wall, correcting its punctuation.
“That has been driving me nuts all day,” she announced with satisfaction.
We all laughed and I thanked my lucky stars for such a great real-life example of difference.
Her attention had been pulled to the wall behind her (remember the banner was behind her) and she’d found it hard to focus on anything but.
What pulls on our attention, makes us focused and sharp varies vastly from one person to another.
What is important to one can be awkward, foreign, difficult for another.
That’s why my attention was caught by my colleague Rachel Allen’s post “Rejoice introverts; A new study from Harvard reveals that open-plan offices decreases not only face-to-face collaboration but innovation as well.”
It was linked to an Inc. article “It’s Official: Open-Plan Offices Are Now the Dumbest Management Fad of All Time” written by Geoffrey James. James says “a new study from Harvard reveals that open-plan offices decrease rather than increase face-to-face collaboration.
Okay as a proud introvert I also felt a shiver of well, “duh, of course,” but then I dug into it further.
Workspace is a big deal. Like really big.
Looping back to what makes for high productivity and ease for one, can lead to teeth-gnashing and anxiety for another, it’s critical that organizations pay attention to our workspaces.
The options are many. From flex plans, working from home to open plans and teeny tiny boxes for offices, it can make one yearn to escape from Cubicle Nation.
If organizations and individual employees pay attention though to workspaces that fit and acknowledge there’s no one right way but rather it’s dependent on perspective and personality, we can amp up choices for how we control our workspaces with some easy tweaks. And that leads to more ease, efficiency and more motivated staff.
I spend a lot of time focusing on learning environments.
Learning environments and work environments share the same factors. (See the resource below for how you can figure out what kind of environment is best for your learning).
In the learning space we call these governance factors, but between you and me, let’s call them ‘how to not go batcrap crazy at work’ or P.L.A.N.T.S.
P.L.A.N.T.S. is an acronym that stands for:
- P = Physical location. Where do you do your best work? My partner, for example, can work anywhere, including coffee shops to lying down.
- L = Light. Does lighting make a difference to you? E.g. Some people hate fluorescent light while others don’t notice.
- A = Accoutrements. Does it make a difference what is or isn’t around you like cords, cables, pens, books, etc? Does it make a difference how they’re arranged? I for one, need an organized space to be productive while my partner can work in a space that looks like a tornado’s been through it.
- N = Noise. Noisy, quiet, or in between – what’s your jam?
- T = Temperature. Some are super sensitive, others can work in hot and/or cold environments. What about you?
- S = Social. Are you someone who likes gathering at the water cooler because being social is key to your productivity or are you more like a hermit and need privacy or somewhere in between?
Whether a banner with a missing period would drive you bat crap crazy or not, crafting your work environment so it fits you the best way possible is good for everyone – you, your productivity, your sanity and by default, your colleagues as well. P.L.A.N.T. some ideas using physical location, light, accoutrements, noise, temperature and social factors.
Then go on and learn, laugh and lead.
Read the full Inc. article here.
Look what can happen when your focus is pulled away from your work!