How do you work best?
As someone who spends most of the day writing - or trying to write! - how to be as productive as possible is a burning question. Sometimes the words flow, other times it's like getting blood from a stone. You get the picture...
Of course, your working environment plays an important role in getting stuff done - or not. Writing for The Happy Manifesto, Claire Lickman identifies two key environment types: the cave and the campfire.
The former conjures an image of a lone employee, head bent over their desk as they type furiously; perhaps breaking to gaze thoughtfully into the distance. The latter summons a picture of an energetic worker swinging around in their chair to bounce an idea off a colleague; working in bursts and taking time out to chat with others.
But I would suggest the two are not mutually exclusive when it comes to writers.
Yes, often writing is best done in isolation. You need to concentrate; to mull over the words on the page; to fine-tune your arguments. But sometimes the silence becomes deafening. You need to ask a colleague if a sentence makes sense; to wrangle over a point; to distract yourself from a case of writer's block.
So that's why the concept of varied working environments is spot on. As the saying goes, a change is as good as a rest - switching things up might be all it takes to get those creative juices flowing.
4. Caves and campfires Some people prefer to hide in caves to work, a quiet environment while they can concentrate without distractions, while some people prefer to work around campfires, busy areas with lots of people to talk to and lots of interaction. Give your staff freedom to choose their environment, and trust them to choose the space that’s right for them. It can take 23 minutes to concentrate again after an interruption – so even a quick question can be incredibly disruptive! If you have spare meeting rooms, encourage the use of these for quiet working to anyone who needs them. Allow your staff to work from home and collaborate remotely, so they can choose the right environment. If you are designing a new office space, make sure you allow for varied working environments.