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Little Find

Work won’t be done in the office (any more)

Why do we have to go into the office? For collective performance? Are you sure about that? This obligation masks an important issue: it’s perhaps not the “where” that’s important but the “when”!

Jason Fried had a theory back in the early 2010s that was considered pretty radical at the time: the office, he argued, isn’t the right place to work. And it’s a theory that has become more appealing over the last two years with the advent of distance working and the hybrid model. 

Fried identified two problems or M&Ms: meetings (which slice office life up into portions 15, 20 or 30 minutes) and managers (who weren’t keen on remote working because they were afraid of – wait for it – distractions!). And both problems have become strikingly true after a succession of lockdowns, each followed by a return to the office. 

Fried suggests three ideas so that everyone can openly declare: “I’m going to the office because I’ve got an important task to carry out”: 

  • Based on the model of “dress-down Friday”, why not introduce a half-day where no one talks? Silence in the office, four hours of peace and quiet when you can focus at work: the first Thursday morning of the month, for example! 
  • Encourage your teams to use asynchronous means of communication, such as email – yes, that’s right, email! – or messaging rather than meetings (even virtual meetings). Everyone will find their own pace. 
  • Cancel your next Monday morning meeting. Go on, cancel it, forget it! You’ll see: everything will be fine and everyone will have a lengthy period of concentration they hadn’t been expecting but which they’ll warmly welcome! 

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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.