October 1, 2018

ProDev Lunch 020 – I Hate Working… at Work!

Work smarter, not harder.

Reaction

How often do you wake up early (sometimes too early), rush to the office, spend the whole 8 hours sitting in front of your computer, and then leave without accomplishing what you should have? Jason Fried, one of the founders of Basecamp, believes our lack of productivity can be explained by asking the real question: does an office help or hinder productivity?

The Talk

Fried starts his talk by telling the audience he isn’t a fan of offices. He believes that productivity decreases when people work together in an office because there is wasted time during the commute, unwanted office politics, and endless small distractions.

He thinks that the best work is done during long uninterrupted periods of time, a luxury that’s in short supply in an office environment. Instead, he recommends working from home or a coffee shop, somewhere away from colleagues and friends. With the advent of modern technology most communication can be handled digitally, according to Fried we are losing productivity by not fully utilizing instant messaging and email.

However, working away from the office isn’t always possible, so he also provides some ways to make work at the office more productive.

  • Ditch Managers & Meetings – According to Fried, managers only exist to interrupt production in order to call meetings. The danger with meetings is that they often procreate: one meeting leads to another, and another, until eventually your schedule is full of them.
  • Designate A No-Talking Day – Imagine spending a whole day not talking to anyone in your office – just pure silence and sweet, sweet productivity. If that’s too hard try testing out a no-talk afternoon once or twice a month to see the results.
  • Digitize Your Communication – Switch to something like email or instant messaging instead of face-to-face communication. If you’re busy you can quit a digital chat until you’re free again, quitting conversations in real life is a little more complicated.

Ask yourself: when was the last time you had four hours to yourself at work? If you can’t remember, then maybe you should do something about it.

Our Thoughts

Finding new ways to increase productivity in our office is an ongoing process and we are always looking to improve. The idea of a no talk afternoon once per week is something we’re working on implementing after watching this talk.

We use a program called Slack for digital conversations, it allows our team to ask important questions and quickly receive an answer, without having to leave their desks. Meetings at Reaction typically operate as working sessions or team collaboration workshops, where we’re drafting wireframes, planning content, or working to build a projects strategy together.

Your employees’ home will always be a more comfortable workspace than an office, but hopefully, with the help of this video, you can make your workplace a more productive space.