Saturday, 9 November 2013

How to increase office productivity and happiness

Office Rescue

I recently identified the 8 hour working day to be my biggest enemy in life. I intend to be persistent and further pursue the point in another post.

This Monday, the eve of Melbourne Cup day, my office throughput has been about twice that of my normal working day. I can provide the numbers that allow me to make this claim but prefer not to do so in public. The important thing is: I wasn’t even trying to be extra productive! Being the eve of a holiday and the state of mind that brings along, we even went for lunch and schmoozed around.
This increase in work throughput reminded me how much more productive I am when I work from home. Using the same numbers I won’t be citing here, I deliver about three times more at home than I do at the office.
Why is that the case? Why was I so much more productive on Monday and why am I even more productive working from home? The reason is office distractions. This Monday the office was mostly empty, with the majority of people preferring to bridge the Monday so as to have an extra long weekend. That meant I could work without breaking my concentration every time someone passed through the corridor just ahead of my desk; it meant I did not receive emails and phone calls to break my work flow with; and it meant I did not spend my time at meetings, most of which turn out to be redundant time wasting affairs.
Yet whenever I ask to work from home I feel as if others think I’m trying to get an extra day off.

All I am trying to do here is point a middle finger in the face of people who think the normal working day is the word of God, those who twist their noses at people late to work, and those who talk behind the backs of colleagues leaving early early. [Adequate disclosure: as the father of a school child, I am a member of all infringing clubs.]
Office productivity has something to do with the amount of time spent at the office, but not everything to do with the amount of time spent at the office. We could, and we should, revise the way our daily work routine is shaped. For a start, it will help us increase our productivity. And as a side effect, it might help us lead happier lives (not that we would ever aspire for that, heavens forbid).


Image by banspy, Creative Commons license

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