Monday, December 20, 2010

Work Productivity: Why work doesn't happen at work

This is an outstanding talk by Mark Fried from TEDx from Chicago. When people are asked where they get the most work done they will say on the porch, at home, on the train, early in the morning, late at night. Why? interruptions. The day is made up work moments due to involuntary interruptions. Tasks that are completed there however but there is rare that long stretches of time to think, create and build are available at the office.

In this talk, they compare an 8 hour work day to 8 hours of sleep. How can you expect to get good quality sleep if you are constantly interrupted? How can you be expected to generate good quality of work if you are interrupted?

What's important to note is the concept of interruptions and involuntary interruptions. People can choose to be interrupted when working at home however the work place offers a cornucopia of involuntary interruptions.

Managers say that the interruption issues are Facebook, twitter and Your Tube. These are modern day smoke breaks.

Mark feels that the real source of interruptions is M&M; Managers and Meetings. He sites Managers and meetings are toxic. Specifically spontaneous meetings.

His remedy is that for the enlightened Managers is "No Talk Thursdays". A whole day or half day when no one is allowed to talk. That is when work gets done.

Switch from active collaboration to passive collaboration in the form of email and IM. You can choose to turn off IM and email, you cant turn off a manager or a meeting.

Cancel meetings. If you have the power, cancel meetings. More will get done.

As a conclusion, his observations really give cause to stop and think about reinventing the work place.

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