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Interruptions and Distractions Disrupt Worker Productivity

Someday we will look back at open office plans as another way-overdone management fad. See also my earlier entry on the effects of workers switching tasks and my earlier entry on open offices.

(p. D2) Research led by Bing C. Lin, a doctoral candidate in industrial and organizational psychology at Portland State University in Oregon, found intrusions, or unexpected interruptions, increased exhaustion, physical strain and anxiety by one-third to three-fourths as much as the size of employees' actual workloads. Bottling up frustration when someone barges into your cubicle worsens the strain, according to the study of 252 employees, published earlier this year in the International Journal of Stress Management.

For the full story, see:

SUE SHELLENBARGER. "WORK & FAMILY MAILBOX; Sue Shellenbarger Answers Readers' Questions." The Wall Street Journal (Weds., Nov. 13, 2013): D2.

(Note: the online version of the review has the date Nov. 12, 2013, and has the title "WORK & FAMILY; The Toll of Office Disruptions; Latest Research on Distractions and Worker Efficiency.")

The Lin study summarized above is:

Lin, Bing C., Jason M. Kain, and Charlotte Fritz. "Don't Interrupt Me! An Examination of the Relationship between Intrusions at Work and Employee Strain." International Journal of Stress Management 20, no. 2 (2013): 77-94.

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