The physical office is a productivity killer. At least according to Jason Fried, author of Remote: Office Not Required. Before you dismiss this opinion as just another person with a preference for working in pajamas, consider his arguments.
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“Offices have become places where interruptions happen,” he tells Fast Company.
He goes on to say:
“If you ask people where they go when they really need to get something done, very few people will ever say the office and if they do, they’ll say really early in the mornings or really late at night or on the weekends when no one’s around.”
Of course, the office has always been a potential hotbed of distractions, but things are arguably worse now that workers have access to mobile technology that allows them to work after hours, from the comfort of their own home. Worst-case scenario: a work day filled with distraction, and a “personal life” full of making up the work we don’t get to do when we’re in the office.
What can managers do to combat this tendency?
1. Set aside non-meeting time.
Productivity experts recommend that workers block off time in their shared calendars to get stuff done. Managers can help support this by declaring meeting-free time on a daily or weekly basis.
2. Kill late-night email.
Some companies have declared an email blackout after hours, in the hopes of encouraging workers to cultivate better work-life balance. Ask yourself if it’s really in the company’s best interest to have sleep-deprived workers answering questions on email at 3 a.m.
3. Have private areas in the office.
If your company has smaller conference rooms, use them. Encourage your reports to use private space for heads-down time on projects.
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