4.11B Need for Focus Work and How to Design for It
Friday, October 5, 2018 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Venue: Charlotte Convention Center - West Wing
Room: 208A
Dates: October 5, 2018 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM CST
In today's ever changing and uncertain world, few things are constant. One of them is the basic human need to focus or concentrate, or simply put, getting things done. Fueled by the need to constantly innovate, corporations are creating workplaces that are designed mainly for collaboration. However, research shows over and over again that collaboration is just half the picture, when building a high-performance workplace. Across all job types, we spend about half our time in solo, heads-down work and the work environment must support that, too. While people are the number one asset of organizations directly contributing to the bottom line, their performance is often hindered by poorly designed workplaces where distractions abound and collaboration is emphasized over focus work. And the result? People are staying away from the office, working at third places or from home, to "focus and get things done," resulting in low occupancy rates at the corporate office. In this presentation, full of interesting facts and infused with quizzes for the audience to ponder over, we will embark on a journey to briefly explore the "anatomy" of focus work regarding to attention, distraction, "flow" and situational awareness, while also addressing the myth of multitasking. We will show why focus work is important, even for collaboration, and how designers should take a holistic approach with five key design elements to address both, creating high-performance workplaces where people can thrive. The office should not be just a place to interact and collaborate, it should also support meaningful and creative work, that is sometimes done solo, heads-down. We will also present a simple business case and show why it is good business to design for both collaboration and focus work.

Discover how the physical workplace can influence (hinder or enhance) human performance and its major impact on the bottom line.
Learn how individual concentration or focus works through exploring interesting factoids on human cognition, including attention, distraction and whether multitasking is productive or not.
Explore why focus work is important even for collaboration and why it is good business to design for both.
Apply five key design elements to create a high-performance workplace where people can thrive.
200 level
Dr. Gabor Nagy, Research Program Manager, Haworth