The background noise at the coffee shop could spark creativity and increase focus
Working from the comfort of your local coffee shop could be more productive than your office.
The ideal work environment for creativity comes with a little background noise from people you don’t know, The Harvard Business Review reports.
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New research shows that sound itself doesn’t distract us, but who is making the noise. While your office could get just as chatty, employees can’t stop themselves from getting drawn into others’ conversations or from being interrupted while trying to focus, according to an electroencephalogram (EEG) test, which measures and records the electrical activity of the brain.
Researchers discovered that in-person interactions, conversations, and other disruptions from people at work negatively affect the creative process. A co-working space or coffee shop, on the other hand, has the same ambient noise, but you’re less likely to get interrupted.
The right level of noise triggers our minds to think more creatively, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found. Researchers examined different sound levels on participants as they took creative thinking tests. Each group was exposed to various noise levels in the background, from total silence to 50 decibels (dull buzz), 70 decibels (noise level similar to a coffee shop), and 85 decibels (the equivalent of a loud motorcycle of garbage disposal). The differences between most of the groups were statistically insignificant; however, the participants in the 70 decibels group maintained a “distracted focus” that significantly outperformed the other groups.
“Getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas,” the authors note.
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