Why it’s way easier to focus in a coffee shop than an open-office

Studies have found that quieter isn't always better.


October 19, 2017

According to recent studies examining the effects of sound on the brain, coffee shops are a better place to get work done than your cubicle or trendy open-office.

Typically, the #1 complaint with open or cubicle-filled offices is the unwanted noise. But new research suggests that some level of background noise is actually beneficial to a person’s creativity.

So get (moderately) noisy people

According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the right level of ambient noise triggers our minds to think more creatively.

In another study, researchers used frontal lobe electroencephalographic (EEG) machines to study the brain waves of participants as they completed tests of creativity while exposed to various sound environments.

So how does this show that coffee shops are better than open offices?

Researchers found that while technically quieter, when there are only a few conversations happening in your office at a time, it’s actually easier to get distracted by them. And the face-to-face interactions, conversations, and other disruptions people tend to encounter in open offices negatively affect the creative process.

Finding the ideal space for focused work isn’t about freedom from noise but about freedom from interruption. If you can find a space (like a coffee shop) that you can hide away in, no matter how noisy it is, that space should be your best bet to get some work done.

Sorry, boiss. *said in an exaggerated Brooklyn accent*

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