Get more done by leaving your door closed

Recently, a company called Campaign Monitor, redesigned their work place. Over the last year they had become overcrowded, and were cramming more and more employees into an open cube layout.

Campaign Monitor decided to redesign their office and give each of their employees their own office and institute a “closed door” policy. Most companies have an “open door” policy. To me an open door policy is an “interrupt me whenever you want” policy. At Campaign Monitor they have a simple rule, “If my door is shut, don’t interrupt me.” They call this common sense, but actually saying it out loud has helped them focus and get work done. This rule essentially says, I’m getting stuff done right now and don’t want to be bothered. I particularly resonate with this is a common sense way to show respect.

A recent study by Microsoft Research found that on average, people working in a typical office were interrupted four times per hour, yeah 4 times per hour! Quoting the research report, “Here’s the kicker – 40% of the time, the person did not resume the task they were working on before the interruption. The more complex the task, the less likely the person was to resume working on it after an interruption.” Microsoft Research, A Diary Study of Task Switching and Interruptions (PDF)

I wonder if other companies will that this bold step toward being more efficient…

What do you think about this kind of workplace?



Finally, a case study I can throw in my boss’s faces! I get regular interruptions ALL day long and cant quite get back on task after the interruption.. whether it my co-worker getting chewed out (which is about every 5 mins), my phone ringing, or someone trying to make conversation.

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