Work is not a “place”


The office set for Jacques Tati's Play Time an...

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There is “work” and then there is the “workplace.” Many people think they are the same or that one necessarily must occur at the other yet more and more studies are showing that the traditional office environment stifles creativity, reduces productivity, increases group-think, and can even deteriorate personal health. And while you may read some of my posts and think I advocate abolishing the workplace all together, that is not my stance. I think going to work, at times, is very necessary to getting the results you need. But equally required to achieve results is time somewhere else. Sometimes it is going for a walk, sometimes it is a hike, maybe the gym, maybe a coffee shop, maybe it’s at home.

My stance is: allow people to work where and when they are most productive. It is a sign of trust in your employees, true delegation on your part, and is empowering to you employee.  Not to mention, as this article in Psychology Science suggests, the metaphor “think outside of the box” has real physical significance. Sitting in your cube, office, or office building can constrain your thinking and narrow your perspectives.

I am not necessarily anti-office, I am pro-productivity. Don’t assume presence implies action.  Give people clear expectations, provide access to resources and tools to do their jobs, give them directional feedback, then leave them alone so they can do their jobs.  Your attendance policy may just be hurting your company in more ways than you realize.

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