The Best Office Ever.
There’s quite a long list of time wasting activities that can occur in the traditional office setting. Water cooler conversations, meetings (occasionally unnecessary), unneeded confirmations, unneeded opinions & the list goes on. Jason Fried, co-founder and president of 37signals, offers some brilliant insight on these distractions and terms them as Involuntary Distractions. In a connected and comfortable environment, like Starbucks, where you don’t know anyone (KEY) a very large percentage of these distractions disappear. There’s no one to stop you for 5-10 mins when you walk in, no time waster who freely violates your “Focus Time” rules and to top it off people doing work by themselves seem to be able to make decisions by themselves with no additional input needed (only if you have “the right people on the bus”).
The other type of distractions, Voluntary Distractions, are often the main reason for “Work at home” failure. These are the dangerous distractions that CEO’s dread. We’ve all recently been public witnesses to Yahoo, Best Buy, and a series of other companies changing their “Work at Home” policies. This is mainly due to a fear of productivity loss, the unavoidable consequence of these voluntary distractions. These are the simple, obvious distractions; washing the dishes, picking up the dry cleaning, doing the laundry, (fill in the blank) that are all too familiar for the folks who still have work at home privileges. In a public, connected and comfortable environment (like Starbucks) these too disappear. In fact, about the only distraction you’ll have in this environment is a phone call (still haven’t figured out how to eliminate these).
The outcome of being in this type of environment can be sweet, uninterrupted, productivity. It seems inevitable that our very near future will be filled with public, connected & shared environments that influence productivity, especially now that most of our work is done on some type of digital device.
The future looks very caffeinated.
DISCLAIMER RANT: Let me be clear, Starbucks is no place to hold “client meetings”. It’s always okay to meet people and take people to coffee but never try to pitch or present to a client in a Starbucks… that’s just unprofessional!