Can’t Remember Anything? Blame Your Shared Office Space

We are all about collaboration and teamwork (and let’s be honest) saving money, so open office plans are extremely popular. Your coworkers are always available to share ideas, and in the case of a hotdesking environment, you can easily move to sit next to someone who can help you with your current project.

And yet, lots of us hate it. And it turns out that we’re not just whiners. There are serious downsides to the open office. Bryan Borzykowski, at BBC Capital, talks about many of the downsides of the open office, but this one caught my eye the most: Memory.

[Ce]rtain open spaces can negatively impact our memory. This is especially true for hotdesking, an extreme version of open plan working where people sit wherever they want in the work place, moving their equipment around with them.

We retain more information when we sit in one spot, says Sally Augustin, an environmental and design psychologist in La Grange Park, Illinois. It’s not so obvious to us each day, but we offload memories — often little details — into our surroundings, she says.

These details — which could be anything from a quick idea we wanted to share to a colour change on a brochure we’re working on — can only be recalled in that setting.

To keep reading, click here: Can’t Remember Anything? Blame Your Shared Office Space

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3 thoughts on “Can’t Remember Anything? Blame Your Shared Office Space

  1. Not to mention that hotdesking, in particular, is demoralizing. I worked in a place that was short on workspacein general. Everyday I came, I’d be told to sit in a different spot. I had to take my personal belongings home with me in a little basket so they wouldn’t get lost. I was the only person in the office that didn’t have my own, permanent, desk. It made me feel like I wasn’t really wanted on the team and that I was just being shuffled around in the hopes that I’d give up and leave. People need their space.

  2. It’s been known for years that changing location can affect memory. It’s why you forget why you went into the next room, but remember the minute you walk back into the first one. (It’s called an “event boundary”: So it only makes sense that changing work location daily, or even multiple times a day would mess that up. And for those of us who rely on sticky notes pasted to the monitor, the wall, the shelf, the phone, the side of the printer…..

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