We live in the Age of Information.
Alternatively described as the Age of Distraction.
In the middle of writing a crucial email you’re distracted by your mobile; part way through the call you’re distracted by an instant message; part way through the message you’re distracted by the TV; somehow it’s half an later – and you’ve still not finished that email!
Finally, you return to the email, just about to finish it when someone shouts, Fancy a coffee?
Gloria Mark from the University of California has concluded that once distracted the average office workers takes up to 25 minutes to return to the original task. This constant distraction can bring office productivity to a virtual standstill.
And the reason for it is as simply as the solution.
Years ago people worked in a completely different environment. The tools of the day were neatly divided across a spacious desktop: phone on the right, calculator on the left, paper and diary in the centre, a filing system with IN and OUT trays, and a newspaper to keep you up-to-date with the issues of the day.
Today these tools are united into one tiny over-crowded screen where you flick through thousands of files, calculate complex equations, send hundreds of emails, confirm thousands of diary appointments, and dip in and out of the infinite information vortex that is the internet.
New York Times journalist, Clive Thompson, points out that multitasking on one screen is an inefficient method as the, “computer screen offers very little visual real estate.”
The large desktop which once offered ample room for files and paper and equipment has been shrunk and squeezed into a tiny square as little as 15 inches wide.
To illustrate this point Gloria Mark conducted an experiment in which she timed workers enacting a simple task on two different sized screens. One a 15 inch monitor, the other a 42 inch monitor. The results were startling. Mark’s concluded that productivity was increased as much as 44% by those working on larger screens.
There are extreme cases where the display of information has to be painstakingly presented for optimal efficiency and safety, such as cockpits for fighter pilots or astronauts. But even in a modern office environment the way that information is displayed can play a crucial role in the war against distraction.
And it is the presentation of this information, all the way down to the detail of whether information is split between two screens or not, that can make the difference between effective productive workers and frustrated and ineffective workers.
It is for this reason that Modtec specialises in increasing the “visual real estate” of the modern worker. Modtec Industries Ltd is a New Zealand company which specialises in designing & manufacturing Integ Modular monitor arms which offer a flexible method of holding screens at the optimal placement and angle, and office equipment at just the right height for a comfortable and effective work environment. They system also works in simple ‘Lego-like’ modular blocks to ensure that any additional screens can easily be added to the structure. For more information please visit: http://www.integinternational.com/