Day 31: The office is no place to work. Jason Fried’s Tedx talk tells us why we should ditch the office

Do you work in an office. Not a home office, but an office at you your workplace. Do you get loads of work done during the day, or reach 5pm (or whenever you finish) and think s— I got nothing done today.  Tedx speaker  Jason Fried thinks that we should ditch the office as we are not productive in their anyway and lets us know “why work doesn’t happen at work.”

 Where are you most productive?

For 10 years Jason has been asking people this simple question, “Where do you really need to go when you need to get something done?” He found that answers generally fell into three groups

1 . A place or location: This could be a coffee shop, verandah, spare room – any location.

2: A moving object:  Commuting is also a popular location to get work done.

3: Time: Other people worked better at certain hours, such as early morning or late nights.

Did you notice that the office was not mentioned in the results. The place were we literally get paid to work was not even a location mentioned to get work done!

Why the workplace is an unproductive environment 

Jason says that we don’t have work days, rather our day is “shredded to bits” into work moments. These work moments are usually interrupted by things such as meetings,  lunch breaks and  colleague interruptions. We might set out to have an eight hour work day, but really by the time you factor in all those interruptions you really only have a few core hours of time to get work done and it’s not always an instant process to get our focus back into what we were doing right away.

M&M – the ultimate time wasters of a workplace

Jason thinks the most unproductive things about work can be summed up by m&m, management and meetings. Meetings interrupt our time as do managers who check to see if we are on track with what we are supposed to do. Can you imagine how productive we could actually be if we eliminated these distractions from our workplace. This is especially true for the creative minds that work better in long stretches of time rather than the stop-start flow you see at most workplaces. What if we took our work outside the buildings and into a place that is better suited to our workflow?

Work from home

I’m sure the concept from working from home, well that is working from home but still employed by someone else,  has been around for years. However is it just me or did Tim Ferris and the whole Four-Hour week concept really drive it into into front-of-mind? The way it works is you complete your job’s tasks at home rather than in a company building. Depending on the type of job, you could still maintain the standard work hours set by your boss, or you could develop flexible hours if you agree to deliver tasks on time. Obviously this wont work for all job types that require very location specific tasks,  but for jobs that merely  rely on a computer and internet connection,  theoretically they could be completed at any location with internet access.

With an ever changing digital world, we should be working at times and places that will maximise our productivity. Maybe that means ditching the office – go on, give it a try and let me know the results.


Today’s actions step

Think honestly. Can you complete your work duties anywhere? Is your workplace maybe not the best location to actually get work done? If you are an employer consider trialling  the out-of-the-box concept of allowing your team to complete their work 0ff-location.  If you are an employee consider approaching the subject with your boss. Don’t just ask cold turkey though, you need stats and facts to back up your approach. Tim Ferriss discusses his approach in his book The 4-Hour Workweek. Definitely worth reading.

Does your employer allow you to work from home? Are you considering asking your boss if your workplace would allow this. I would love to hear what happens! Please share your stories below.