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    Posted on 02/11/2014 by | 0 comments

    Jason Fried addresses why people never say the office is the best place for getting work done. Most people, he says, will say things like, “I get my best work done early in the morning at home,” or “on my commute.” Employers spend all this money renting and outfitting office space, but employees don’t view the office as a place for productivity.

    The reason? Interruptions.

    I agree, 100%. When I need to really buckle down, the office is not the best place for me. I enjoy working at coffee shops where, despite all the people around, I can get into a groove and no one will interrupt me. (I usually listen to classical music to drown out nearby conversations.) At the office I work in a shared space, so sometimes to approximate that isolation I actually put in earplugs. Weird, perhaps. I still hear conversations, but it’s more of a hum, and I feel separated from it all.

    Fried says the reasons for the interruptions at work aren’t what you would think — it’s not Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. Those are “voluntary” interruptions — you look at them when you need a break, but you can also choose not to.

    Instead, it’s what he refers to as M&Ms: managers and meetings. These are involuntary interruptions — you can’t escape them! People whose job it is to monitor your work actually end up hindering your work. And meetings? They’re counterproductive. You’re not doing work, you’re talking about work you will do in the future. And if it’s a 1 hour meeting with 10 people attending, that’s 10 hours of lost productivity.

    He has three tips for moderating interruptions at work and making the office a place where people actually can get work done:

    1. Pick one afternoon a month where no one in the office can talk to one another. Mad work will get done.
    2. Replace active communication — face to face meetings — with passive communication. Like email.
    3. Cancel the next meeting that’s scheduled (if you have the power). Then, see if cancelling the meeting affects things at all. Probably not.
    What’s your take? Where do you get your best work done?

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  • The Worst (and Best) About Workplace Bathrooms

    Posted on 28/10/2014 by | 0 comments

    I have a proposition for you: An office bathroom says a ton about workplace culture, management’s respect for employees, and it can also have an effect on morale. I do think a lot of companies realize this, and their managements invest in nice bathrooms. But there are also some terrible office bathrooms out there.

    Here’s what I think goes into a basic, good, and perk-tastic workplace bathroom. See if you agree, or let me know what I’ve missed.

    1. The Basics. We can all agree that there are some bathroom essentials. Regular cleaning, adequate supply of soap and paper towels (or an air dryer), locks and purse hooks in working condition, and good quality toilet paper. If any of these things are missing, well… that’s pretty depressing. And gross. There’s nothing worse than a bathroom that’s run out of soap (I shudder to think about the repercussions of this in a closed work environment). Having to drop your bag on the floor is equally cringe-inducing. And I hate toilet paper that’s as thin as tissue paper, where you have to pull and pull and pull for what feels like 5 hours to get an adequate amount.

    As a side note to the basics, if you notice that any of these things are missing at work (toilet paper, soap, hand towels): Be a dear and say something to someone. It’s just about being good to your fellow workers.

    2. Beyond the Essentials, But Very Important. I can’t speak for men’s rooms on these next items, but I’ll assume the same applies. Bathrooms aren’t just for going to the bathroom, especially at work. We use them to have a few minutes alone after a stressful situation, to check our appearances, and to change clothes. Some of us may even haveStuart Smalley-style pep talks when no one else is around (hey, whatever works).

    So, for us women, also important are: large, clean mirrors; good lighting; and plenty of counter space. Bonus points for a full-length mirror.

    3. The Perks, Or How to Show Your Employees You Love Them. Want to really impress your employees and clients? Have someplace to sit other than toilets, preferably a separate seating area. Provide common items that women might need: band-aids, tampons, hair spray, Tylenol, face tissues, etc. This also demonstrates a culture of trust — coworkers use only what they need, so that everyone can benefit from the extra supplies. Choose soothing, non-institutional paint colors, and hang some art on the walls.

    For an A+, provide a no-touch exit. Either provide an offset entrance, like at some airports and gyms, so that there need be no entrance door at all, or at least have a door that opensout so that people can nudge it open with their hips.

    What are your work bathrooms like? Complete messes or nice retreats? Do you agree that bathrooms should serve multiple functions, or should they just be get-in and get-out?

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