catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

More on the open plan menace

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I have whinged about the open plan office before. Now here is more evidence that these touchy-feely HR (Heap of Rubbish) experts who promote such rubbish have no idea how the more productive members of society work!

    Many companies put most of their employees in cubes where the babble of colleagues is omnipresent. The theory is that there is sharing of information, and it’s cheap. This is a really stupid theory. The information shared is mainly parochial stuff (eg, ‘send the forms to John’ or personal trivia). A self-imposed version of this is when people listen to the radio, especially talk-radio, or the TV, while working …

    Spelke, Hermer-Valquez, and Katsnelson (1999, Sources of flexibility in human cognition: Dual-task studies of space and language. Cognitive Psychology, 39, 3-36), describe the following experiment that proves banter is bad for creative thought ….

    There’s something special about language that is essential for reorienting yourself using information from different modalities (eg, geometry, color). So if you want people to engage in complex multisequence tasks, you shouldn’t ask them to do something that engages their verbal skills. You need to talk in your head to integrate different types of information. Sitting next to a garrulous employee, or having CNBC or Bloomberg market news blair loudly all day, is tantamount to cutting off any creative thought (and extremely common) …

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Written by Admin

June 22, 2006 at 2:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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