I’m afraid I have to agree with the Washington Post. Not because I have anything against them, nor Google, but having worked in both open, semi-private, and private offices I have to agree: open floor plan offices are counter-productive. What you gain in reduced operations costs and floor space efficiency, you lose in individual productivity.
This is not new. It goes back to a book I read in university, a very long time ago now: The Mythical Man Month. One of the insights I took away was the demonstrable pattern of the best programmers at the best companies are 100x more productive than the worst programmer at the worst companies. The difference between companies: can you close your door and silence your phone?
That simple. A 10-second interruption costs you 20 minutes (give or take) of think time. In cognitively challenging work (programming, engineering, creative endeavours, writing, and other brain jobs) every interruption means starting over again.
So if you ever wonder why you can spend the entire day at work, and come home feeling tired and wondering what you actually got done, maybe you should work from somewhere else once in a while. I used to book a small meeting room on the other side of the building so nobody would want to come find me unless they absolutely had to. Not to hide, but to get work done. Try it some time. Let me know how it works for you.
“Personal productivity presents itself as an antidote to busyness when it might better be understood as yet another form of busyness. And as such, it serves the same psychological role that busyness has always served: to keep us sufficiently distracted that we don’t have to ask ourselves potentially terrifying questions about how we are spending our days.”
— Oliver Burkeman, “Why Time Management is Ruining Our Lives“, The Guardian
(Thanks Tim for the link)
“There is no reason to learn how to show you’re paying attention if you are in fact paying attention.“
John’s a cool cat with his ears open. His biggest business trends from 2016 is right. I will say I don’t think anything on this list is new except the technology sea change that’s going on around us. Leadership, talent, sales, communication challenges have always and will always be with us. But if you think the last 20 years of having an internet and email around has made your head spin then you might want to sit down. That was just the warm-up and it’s happening now.
Time lost is never found again” – making the best use of your time also means matching your time to the task
Sometimes the hardest part of leading an organization is getting the right information. Sometimes asking better questions can help.
“There are three kinds of companies – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.” (Conrad Hilton)
Which one is your company?
How do you balance keeping focused on what you’re good at, when your most loyal customers are changing?
Three criteria for evaluating that acquisition you’ve been thinking about, so you don’t lose your shirt (or sanity).