A Desk in Times Square

What would it be like to set up a desk in Times Square amid the flashing lights, constant foot traffic, and noise? For many employees in an open-office space, it’s the usual day at work.

Imagine writing a piece of “deep work” with constant interruptions, people calling out to each other across the room, and coworkers milling about one’s desk. It’s a sea of commotion. Yet the brain must make minute adjustments to text to create a seamless flow. As Maria Konnikova documents in her article, “The Open-Office Trap,” this is a very real-life scenario, and one that takes its toll.

Exposure to noise in an office may also take a toll on the health of employees. In a study by the Cornell University psychologists Gary Evans and Dana Johnson, clerical workers who were exposed to open-office noise for three hours had increased levels of epinephrine—a hormone that we often call adrenaline, associated with the so-called fight-or-flight response.

And that is for only three hours. For most office workers, the usual day is 8.5 to 9 hours.

Claude Monet — an example of sisu?

It was not the best time in Monet’s life. His second wife and eldest son had both died in the previous few years, and his eyesight was getting progressively worse due to cataracts. But despite the emotional and physical setbacks, Monet would soon rebound, making the last decade of his life (he died in 1926 at the age of 86) an extremely productive period in which he painted many of his most famous studies of water lilies.

~ Mike Springer

What an inspiration!