This TEDx talk from Jason Fried hits all the key reasons why working at that PLACE we call work is not necessarily the best PLACE to get work done.
Jason Fried thinks deeply about collaboration, productivity and the nature of work. He’s the co-founder of 37signals, makers of Basecamp and other web-based collaboration tools, and co-author of “Rework.”
Read Jason’s Full Bio
This is an interesting question he asks and one worth asking yourself “where do you really want to go when you really need to get something done?”
The answers he received from many people over many years are not really surprising. You don’t have to think too hard to relate to the responses; the porch, the deck, the kitchen, the extra room in the house, the basement, the coffee shop, the library. Then there is the train, a plane, a car.
The only reference to the office, comes from people that say they get the most done early in the morning, before anyone else arrives or late after everyone has left.
Whats the bottom line? The best work gets done when there are no distractions.
The Productivity Myth
We have been conditioned that we need to work at that PLACE at that TIME every day, under the watchful eye of our managers. This is how we work and produce.
We can’t possibly allow our staff members to work from home, how would we know if they are working? Surely they would get distracted by the TV, housework, gardening?
No, I need to see them at their desk so I know they are working.
Are they checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, watching Youtube?
How many times throughout the day are they interrupted by other team members with questions, requests for their time or other non work related chatter?
Interesting when you stop and think about it. How can they possibly fully focus on projects and tasks with all these distractions and interruptions? How many productive hours are they really getting out of each day?
I would say the answer would be, very much less than you think.
The old way of the hero of the office being the person that spends more time there is no longer. More time at work doesn’t necessarily equate to more productivity. The real measure is what is produced, regardless of WHEN or WHERE it is produced.
You can’t bank the hours someone spends at work, you can however bank the returns on what is produced.
Here’s an interesting article on the issue of trust – If you can’t trust your employees to work flexibly, why hire them in the first place?
Where can you get the real work done?
“I can get more work done in the hour before anyone else arrives at work than I can for the rest of the day”, I’m sure you have experienced this at some time.
What about that time when you either get up early or stay up late, just to get some stuff done. These are the times you can get more achieved in an hour, than you would in half a day at the office.
No distractions, no interruptions, at last you can fully focus on what you are doing.
The fact is that people are more productive outside of the office or place of work. In a study by TINYPulse ( WHAT LEADERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REMOTE WORKERS – Surprising Differences in Workplace Happiness & Relationships) an astounding 91% of respondents said they were more productive when working outside of the office.
Not only are they more productive but they are also happier. I have no doubt that these go hand in hand, one is the result of the other and visa versa.
Is it time to give it a try?
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start thinking differently about work. Why not try it yourself for a day, a half day, even a couple hours. It’s not too hard, take the opportunity to spend some quality time with complete focus on one task, a project, a plan or concept that would benefit from some uninterrupted time.
Next up, when you’ve seen how effective it works for you, test out letting a staff member do the same thing.
Then why not try a “Work From Anywhere Week”
Work really is no longer a place……………..
Let me know in the comments if you are brave enough to try this or if you are already doing it. How is it working for you? What is stopping you?
Please let me know in the comments below