For a while now, the research community has been trumpeting the notion of focus. 

In other words, toggling from one thing to another doubles errors and decreases productivity.

The Journal of Experimental Psychology.  Stanford.   University of California/Irvine.  And still other psychologists are encouraging that we do less, get more.

Yet software and technology seem to demand our attention on all fronts, at all times.  Count, for instance, the number of browser tabs open.  Notifications per minute about email, texts, and other media.  Even the times per hour we check our inboxes.

So, like the slow food movement, Slow Web is being born.  It’s the idea of doing one activity at a time with as few distractions and interruptions as possible.  No real-time alerts, simply concentration on the activity at hand. 

As communicators and, quite frankly, proponents of media of all sorts, it’s to our advantage to champion SW.  Much of our advocacy could be in the form of a true campaign; after all, who knows best how to tame the tech beast than us?  Recommendations like prioritizing, meeting with managers to identify to-dos, identifying and avoiding distractions, and, yes, underestimating daily goals are just a few top-of-mind thoughts (and we’re sure you’ve got others).  Even goldfish have a longer attention span than we do.

It’ll take time, patience, and practice.  We call it “catching the mono-culture.”


No file cabinets.  No assigned desks or phones.  A backpack to carry materials from meeting to meeting.  And a large swirl of desks and chairs.

There’s much complaining among our cohorts about open space offices.  Conceived by German engineer-architects in the 1950s, and now boasting a 70 percent footprint in U.S. workplaces, office openness has long spurred a contentious discussion, with retorts right and left:

              “It’s a great concept:  Our organization is flatter and executives are more approachable.”

              “Help!  I can’t hear myself think – and am constantly interrupted.”

              “Just think about the other benefits – in terms of real estate savings and increased collaboration.”

              “Where’s our focus – and concentration?  I go home at night with migraines.”

The two factors missing?  One, self-determination – that is, the ability to decide what, where, and how to work – is absent.  Millennials, for instance, pride themselves on selecting environments that help them contribute in a big way; the mere presence of open offices indicates that there is no choice and, probably, few options to make a difference.  [Quite a few years ago, European workers passed laws to allow forms of co-determination.]

Two, communication.  The havoc generated by having to figure out where to work each day, to find colleagues, even to identify the ‘what I need to-dos’ is considerable.  Plus, instead of fostering collaboration, open offices often cause us to retreat, requesting every private cubbyhole and avoiding conversations. 

What’s your take?