Lebowtech Blog

No Talk Thursday

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So I have some suggestions to kind of remedy the situation. We’ve all heard of, like, casual Friday thing. How about no talk Thursdays? How about just one Thursday, once a month, and cut that day in half and just say the afternoon - I’ll make it really easy for you - so just silence. That’s it. And what you’ll find is that a tremendous amount of work actually gets done when no one talks to each other.

This is worth watching:

Ted Talk, Why work doesn’t happen at work

While I don’t agree with everything he makes some good points and he has a good direction. He is a bit over zealous when it comes to meetings especially when not everyone is good about using the collaboration tools available. Meetings, and even regularly scheduled meetings have their place.

He makes good points about how many interruptions can be found in the typical office and this can kill your productivity.

I ask them, “Where do you go when you really need to get something done?” I’ll hear things like, the porch, the deck, the kitchen. I’ll hear things like an extra room in the house, the basement, the coffee shop, the library. And then you’ll hear things like the train, a plane, a car – so, the commute. And then you’ll hear people say, “Well, it doesn’t really matter where I am, as long as it’s really early in the morning or really late at night or on the weekends.” You almost never hear someone say the office. But businesses are spending all this money on this place called the office, and they’re making people go to it all the time, yet people don’t do work in the office.

This is what happens. It’s like the front door of the office is like a Cuisinart, and you walk in and your day is shredded to bits ‘cause you have 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there and then something else happens and you’re pulled off your work and you gotta do something else. And you have 20 minutes then it’s lunch. Then you have something else to do. Before you know it, it’s like it’s five P.M., right? I got nothing done today. I was at work, I went to these meetings, I did these conference calls, I did all the stuff, but I didn’t actually do anything.

And even though the workday is typically eight hours, how many people here have ever had eight hours to themselves at the office? How about seven hours? Six? Five? Four? When was the last time you had three hours to yourself at the office? Two hours? One maybe?

If people don’t have time to think and thinking time needs to be your own time, then they have a really hard time actually producing great work.

The real problem with meetings and talking at work in general is when pride steps in.

collaboration is good but we shouldn’t mistake it for interruption. When you think about collaboration, you think about people tapping each other on the shoulder and riffing on ideas…

There is certainly a point where there’s too many ideas, too many thoughts. At that point, people just want to be heard and then you’re not really solving these problems anymore. Then you’re just sort of playing politics and that doesn’t really get anything done. ~ Is Too Much Collaboration a Bad Thing

At my last job I had a schedule like this: 2.5 days a week I would come into the office and 2.5 I would work from home. The 2.5 days in the office I primarily spent my time hashing out specs, teaching, helping out people who needed my help, and getting help from others about a project that I wasn’t up-to-date on. The days at home is where I really got my productive work done, that is when I had the time to concentrate. The days at home are also the days when I would get sucked into a project and keep working a few hours after quitting time, even though there was no deadline. When you get focused and get down to working it can be, sometimes hard to stop, but when your in an office and ping-ponging around, you can ping-pong out the door at 18:00 without thinking twice.

I think with many of the collaboration tools we have today like Github,Bit Bucket,TeamViewer,HipChat, and even Skype with screen sharing having an office is no longer a necessity for a successful business, and not even a luxury, but rather a burden.