Set new standards for Deep Work!

Hagen im Bremischen/Vienna  | Even in today’s fast-moving world, where multitasking has taken over large areas of everyday working life, Deep Work remains important. Deep Work means    concentrated work  without distraction. That’s how computer science professor and author Cal Newport defined it. It is particularly important for knowledge workers, as it is the way to achieve good and outstanding results. But how can companies help ensure that their employees in open-plan offices are not distracted by buzzing telephones, overflowing e-mail inboxes and the like?

Firstly, they need to be aware that their employees need periods of deep concentration and often peace of mind when performing challenging tasks. Secondly, measures must be implemented, such as setting up quiet zones or agreeing rules on how to communicate and consider the desire for concentrated work to colleagues. This can be, for example, a simple note with “Please do not disturb!” at the office door or a traffic light system at the desk. At the same time, it must be clarified how often such decided retreat possibilities can be granted before there is a disturbance of the – very well intended – communication of colleagues in the office. And last but not least, as a leader it is important to set a good example and make use of the possibilities, so that the efforts for Deep Work do not stop at declarations of intent, but the available retreat possibilities are actually used by all those involved.

The need for action regarding enabling Deep Work is there. According to an investigation by the Viennese brain researcher Dr. Bernd Hufnagel, on average office workers only work eleven minutes undisturbed on a task.  The devastating thing is that “we lose up to 60 percent of our multitasking capabilities,” says Hufnagel. In extreme cases, a working hour in multitasking corresponds to only 24  concentrated minutes.

Image: © Natee Meepian –