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Please pardon this brief interruption

Do you get interrupted at work?  Who doesn't, right?  Well, there is a growing movement among the forward thinking management crowd to kill as many distractions as possible.  That means no more meetings, phone calls, taps on the shoulder, etc.  As Jason Fried from 37signals puts it, we don't just start working.  We have to ramp up into work such that out of a 45 minute work cycle, we are only truly working about 20 minutes.  If we have to break that up for meetings, phone calls, shouts across the office, then we are taken away from actual work.  Jason speaks of setting a goal to kill as many normal distractions as possible. Listen to his advice in this video:

One of the stronger advocates for this current rethinking of our work is the pair behind ROWE (Results Only Work Environment)Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler.  I recently attended a seminar they The pair created the ROWE environment while working for Best Buy.  They have published a book on the subject called Work Sucks which details their principles on the subject.  Their core principles are:
  • People are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done
  • Every meeting is optional
  • There are no judgments for when or where people work
  • Results are the only measurement that matters
The key to the success, from my understanding, is being able to measure results.  Workers have to be able to identify their goals and show their progress.  In fact, Jody and Cali strongly suggest that you first capture the productivity level in the current environment using the same goals before you make the switch to ROWE.  This lets you measure how much you improve productivity.

It's a very interesting discussion.  It seems as if there is a movement brewing to change our work environments as we know them.  There's obviously a prevalent feeling that something is broken.  Regardless of your personal opinions on ROWE or any other non traditional changes in our work environments, I think it's clear that in the not too distant future, work as we know it will look entirely differently than it does today.


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