Everybody has their own way of getting “in the zone.” For some people, working in absolute silence helps them concentrate and gets them into the groove they need to be in to crank out project after project. For others, this kind of environment is intolerable: they need something to occupy the portion of their brain that gets easily distracted and unfocused; they need something to stare at or listen to while they’re thinking about what to do next.
Today’s world is driven by the second, or even third, screen. We’re tweeting while we watch the season finale of Scandal and we’re refreshing our fantasy football page during the big game. As mobile devices and tablets are becoming ever more widespread, this sort of visual multitasking is becoming more commonplace as well. We’re getting used to dividing our attention, and for many people, it actually helps them be more productive.
All of this is well and good, but can TV actually be used to enhance a productive work environment? We’re not necessarily suggesting that you have thirty TVs all over the office blaring every news program imaginable (unless you’re a newsroom, of course), and we’re also not suggesting that you walk your coworkers through your favorite episodes of Lost. Ideally, it’s in a break room or the lobby, so you can tune in or tune out at your own discretion.
That being said, let’s take a look at some reasons why it could be useful to have a TV of some sort in the workplace.
1. Keeping the Team Connected to the Outside World, and Each Other
It’s possible to use the power of television to connect your team to current news, trends, and insights that will keep them informed and get the wheels turning on new ideas and strategies.
Keeping a constant flow of news into the office keeps everyone connected with the world at large, and can also cut down on a common time drain. In a discussion about TV in the office, here’s how one worker puts it: “We have a television in our office and it is set to CNBC, CNN, or MSNBC, depending on who turns it on. Do you know what I’d do without the television? Check CNN.com, WSJ.com, or NYT.com, or check the myriad blogs out there.”
Plus, a collective experience like watching an important television event or breaking news update can make the team feel closer, which builds trust and empathy. When your team is more connected, you’ll be able to work together more collaboratively, which means getting things done more effectively.
2. Hosting Special Events
Some things are truly global events, and when it’s truly international it can often be at a time that conflicts with normal business hours. The best examples are the kinds of sporting events that only happen once every few years: the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics, and the World Cup, for example.
These kinds of events dominate the international news cycle, and it’s fun to keep up with everything that’s going on. Special events already feel like a sort of holiday, where everyone has an arbitrary excuse to get really passionate about something really specific like pairs figure skating, or the medley relay. You can take advantage of that by bringing some of that electric atmosphere into the office.
Taking it a step further, you can also get your office in on the fun. Setting up some sort of bracket, or getting departments to each pick a particular team or country to support, can lead to some friendly inter-office rivalry. These kinds of things are fun because, no matter your level of interest in sports, nobody is really an expert on the biathlon, which makes it a lot less intimidating than trying to break into your office’s cutthroat fantasy football league.
Regardless of what you do, providing access to these kinds of special events can provide a serious boost to morale. It also gives people something to talk about that isn’t work-related, or the latest water cooler gossip.
3. Creating a Productive Environment in the Office
Another person with a TV in their office was more focused on the atmosphere that it fostered: “The good thing about TV is that it’s just there, on, providing reassuring background noise.” Many people need something going on in the background to be at their most productive; it’s the reason so many freelancers regularly haunt coffee shops and even bars. With a TV, however, “you don’t have to go searching for it like you do when you read the internet.”
It’s important to realize that not everyone works the same way. What’s great for one person might be incredibly distracting for someone else. If you’re going to take the step of adding a TV, you’ll want to make sure that it’s a welcome addition for the people who are nearest to it, and that they can seamlessly move if need be.
What You Can Do Right Now
It may seem counterintuitive, but adding a TV to your office can be a great way to transition to a more relaxed environment, and also open the door for some major team building opportunities. TV can heighten camaraderie, help your team feel connected to each other and the outside world, and even boost productivity. Even though it’s a little unconventional, it’s worth considering as our world gets even more connected going forward.
- Plan around special events and get the whole office involved.
- Keep news on so your team doesn’t have to seek it out.
- Remember that placement is important and talk it over with those nearby.
- Learn more about TV for your business. Visit us at Cox Business
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