Saturday, November 27, 2010

TED Jason Fried: Why work doesn't happen at work

Jason Fried thinks that the office isn't a good place to work efficiently. He details the main problems and proposes three suggestions to make work work.

Source :
Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog : Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work


Brett said...

Jason does propose some unusual ideas, but they do have validity.

Every individual is unique as are the methods that will allow them to be the most productive. Companies need to allow individuals the flexibility to work in their own effective style within the companies overall structure.

Brett Miller

Justin Calderon said...

Hey Jason,

Just listened to your TED talk on the Shanghai Metro coming home from work.

As it would be, a lot, if not all, of your proposed strategies are already well cemented into my current office's work environment.

Watching videos or social networking is not allowed on our computers; our company recently blocked, China's popular alternative to Facebook.

I work at a B2B magazine writing ad space for China manufacturers, so I need a lot of personal time to brainstorm and absorb my personal plan of attack for every company. In Chinese office culture, you get just that.

My company has gone to painstaking lengths to get my coworkers to communicate more face-to-face, yet everyone still very much prefers to send emails. This isn't always just a language barrier issue; my boss and editor are English-speaking Shanghainese and are simply so acclimatized to their sedentary state that sending emails has become the unbudging norm.

Overall, we have very few meetings. They average about two hours a month, but sometimes they account for less. Updates on products, change in procedures (classifications) and general office activities are all announced via email.

The result: you already know it. Because my fellow foreign coworkers and I are set to this system, our productivity is quite high.

My average day consists of going into my office, greeting everyone good morning and then basically plugging into Mircosoft Outlook. Of course, we chat socially on our downtime, which usually comes in the afternoon for about one hour if we're lucky. I can speak Chinese, so this also allows for some cross-cultural conversing.

However, I must say, though the productivity rate can be astounding in comparison, there is a bit of fleshy warmth that is lost like this. I wouldn't lie if I said it feels robotic, engineered. My Chinese coworker compared it to an 'assembly line' because of how we pass case files between each other.

Plugged in, complacent and placated --- offices are more like machines in Asia, well oiled ones. This culture has permeated outside of sterile office walls as well. A well-known social phenomenon in China and Japan are otaku(Japanese), or zhainan/zhainv in China, people who prefer to communicate from their homes, rarely leaving their comfort zone.

If you'd like to read anymore about my life in Asia, please do comment on my blog.

Justin Calderon

James M said...

One area that is left out in the talk is the importance of the aural environment in getting things done (music, people talking, or complete silence).

Great talk, though. Love his ideas and his blog.