The evolution of the workplace—from a cigarette-smoke-filled boy’s club (“Mad Men,” anyone?) to an open-concept think tank with nap pods and air-hockey tables (tech companies like Google and Facebook)—reflects the evolution of modern culture.
And today, many companies would seem to be trying to drain every last ounce of ability and energy from employees by providing on-site amenities that keep workers from ever needing to leave the office park. Back-to-back meetings take up most of the days, keeping employees at their desks longer into the night trying to finish projects and meet deadlines. Email notifications are always “on,” vacation is an inconvenience, and being the last car in the parking lot is worn like a badge of honor.
But this total lack of understanding and allowing for both the demands of life and work is not only unhealthy but also unproductive.
Where is the future of the workplace headed? And how can we create a productive work environment that doesn’t encourage long hours and stressful, meeting-packed days but the ability to meet deadlines swiftly and spend more time outside the office?
Here are four tips from Basecamp founder and author Jason Fried for a calm, productive workplace that encourages and promotes work-life boundaries, not burnout—no matter where you work.
- Try working remotely. Tell your manager you’d like to test working from home one day a month so you can start minimizing interruptions and work more efficiently.
- Adopt “library rules” one day a week. Don’t distract others on your team with deskside conversations or messages unless you absolutely need to. Then, keep it to a whisper.
- Don’t demand an immediate response. If you message a co-worker with a question, let that person know when you need an answer so he or she doesn’t feel obliged to interrupt work to get back to you.
- Keep meetings to a minimum. Instead, share online status updates with team members.
Photo credit: Al ghazali, Unsplash