Create focus: Reduce distractions in your work environment

Maintaining focus in the workplace can be a challenge. Colleagues talking, movements in the corner of the eye, scraping noises from furniture, whirring fans, poor ventilation, blinding sunlight or visual distractions such as bright colors, patterns and cluttered bookshelves. It is important to reduce negative distractions in the work environment as it has a direct impact on both well-being, efficiency and productivity. In this article, we explore some effective strategies for reducing distractions and creating a healthy and attractive work environment.

1. Create a balanced sound environment

You get the best conditions for a good sound environment if you focus on room acoustics already in the planning phase. It always pays off to equip the premises from scratch with acoustic ceilings and sound dampening floor covering. With the help of interior design, you then reinforce a good sound environment, through upholstered furniture, sound absorbers, curtains, plants, carpets, sound-absorbing tabletops and furniture with wheels. Good acoustics in the workplace is not about creating a completely silent working environment, but rather about balancing the sound and finding suitable sound environments for all types of activities.

Read more about acoustics and how you create conditions for a good sound environment

2. Define zones with different levels of focus

When planning your work environment, it is important to think about how different environments are placed in relation to each other. Spaces for work requiring concentration, for example, need to be separated from spaces where there is a lot of movement and interaction between people. A good start is therefore to divide the workplace into different zones, for example an active zone where there is pulse and movement, a zone for semi focus where you can work focused but with some crosstalk and a zone for high focus where you work undisturbed without talking. This creates the conditions for everyone to perform their tasks during the day in the best possible way.

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3. Minimize visual impressions

A messy or untidy workplace with a lot of impressions, movements, information and strong colors means that we consciously or unconsciously constantly have something distracting in the corner of our eyes. A more structured and calm work environment, where impressions are sanitized, provides better conditions for our brain to focus on the current activity and creates work tranquility. In interior design, you can consider that closed or partially closed storage gives a calmer impression than, for example, open shelves filled with things. With the help of ceiling-hung or floor-standing screens, soft seating furniture with high backs or storage solutions, you can divide the work environment so that the eye does not see as far in the room. Another example is putting frosted film on parts of window panes where there is a lot of movement outside, then you reduce distractions but still allow positive daylight to come through.

4. Choose an earthy colour palette

Colours that are close to nature's own color scale, such as green and earthy shades, have a particular effect on people's ability to recover and are therefore preferred in most work environments. Earthy and muted colours that go tone on tone create a calm feeling and are also easy to combine with each other, while maintaining the uniform and harmonious impression. Avoid patterns on large surfaces, strong colours or too many different colours in the same space.

Read more about the importance of colour

5. Encourage movement

An uncomfortable working position can be a negative distraction in itself. We humans are made to move, therefore it is important that the design of the work space and the interior design itself encourage this. Choose furniture that is designed to encourage movement and promote variety throughout the day by offering different environments to switch between. Your next position is your best position!

Read more about encouraging movement in the workplace environment

6. Make it possible to control the light

The need for light varies during the day and the year, depending on what task we have in front of us. It also varies during life - older people often need different and more light than younger people. Flexible solutions and the ability to individually control the light have many advantages, simply because we all have different preferences and needs. This can, for example, mean dimmable luminaires, curtains, blinds or movable lighting.

Read more about lighting in the workplace

7. Manage digital distractions

Cell phones and computers can be major distractions if not used productively. To reduce digital distractions, you can turn off notifications or use app blockers that prevent access to social media and other distractions during the work period. You can also use email filtering to prioritize important messages and turn off instant notifications.

The human ability to multitask is a myth, in fact our brains can only concentrate on, and take in, one thing at a time. Our brain only has one processor and as soon as we multitask, the brain has to switch between different activities. If we are disturbed, it can take up to twenty minutes before we regain the same focus.

Creating focus by minimizing distractions in the workplace is an important component in increasing productivity and well-being. Do you need help with a needs analysis of your work space or advice on interior design solutions?

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