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Fostering Productive Work in Hybrid Workplaces through an Ambient Display

Project state


Project start

March 2022

Funding duration

15 months

Universities involved


Practice partner

Funding amount DIZH

CHF 76'000

The goal of this project was to have a positive impact on the productivity and well-being of knowledge workers in the Zurich area, who face various challenges in terms of efficient communication and teamwork in today’s hybrid work environment. With FlowTeams we have developed a solution that supports teams in finding a sustainable balance between focused work and teamwork. In doing so, teams are motivated to pre-schedule blocks for focused work while also actively reserving time for interactions. This planning, as well as the current focus status, is visualized digitally as well as physically with an LED lamp for the own team. This makes it easier for teammates to assess when and via which communication channel it is best to ask their own question in order to avoid interruptions for each other and to increase concentration. Various integrations, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, Microsoft/Google Calendar, support the structuring of the workday and help to find a more ideal time for teamwork.

Screenshot of the awareness app, FlowTeams, that visualizes your and your team members’ current and upcoming focus and availability for interactions.

FlowTeams has been productively tested with over 100 people in more than a dozen organizations (the majority from the Zurich area) and scientifically evaluated in a field study. The results are currently being prepared for a scientific publication and can be summarized as follows:

  • Regularly scheduling and automatically sharing personal focus time with the team enables people to work in a more concentrated manner and make progress on their own tasks, especially during hectic workdays. These blocks are usually about an hour long. They have a positive influence on one’s own productivity and reduce stress, since especially introverts and autistic people are no longer constantly interrupted and communication takes place in a more structured way.
  • At the same time, FlowTeams supports team leads in finding a better balance between focused work and teamwork by enabling them to define their availability for interactions and absences in an uncomplicated way and make them available to the team in a transparent manner. As a result, blockages can be prevented early on or resolved in a more timely manner.
  • The way FlowTeams are used differs between teams and depends, among other things, on the communication culture, the type of work and the regularity of unplanned events or tasks. Users have independently customized FlowTeams according to their own preferences. For example, completing an unscheduled focus time for the next 30 minutes when the work has made this possible on short notice.
  • In general, FlowTeams leads to an increased awareness of the benefits of focused work and efficient teamwork. This has led to many teams taking time to reflect on their collaboration culture and optimize it together.

The positive results and the fact that almost all participating organizations continue to use FlowTeams after the study underlines the potential of the approach. Follow-up projects will now evaluate and drive further development and possible productization.

FlowLight, by André Meyer

Dr. André Meyer, Universität Zürich, Institut für Informatik

Prof. Dr. Thomas Fritz, Universität Zürich,Institut für Informatik


Call type: 1. Rapid Action Call