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The Price of Efficient Workplaces

January 31, 2014

Brand managers, accountants and numerous other roles were very different 10 years ago. Whereas now it’s hard to tell who does what, in an open plan office with scores of people all sat staring at screens.

We all strive for an efficient office - but is efficiency compromising our work?

Many employees, regardless of role spend their entire day sat in the same seat, staring at the same screen. perhaps occasionally moving to another seat to attend a meeting. All the while, efficiently working through a series of defined tasks. Rarely, if at all sharing a thought with a colleague or testing a new idea. Consequently, the efficiency we’ve striven to achieve has compromised our ability to innovate.

This ‘head down’ approach is not just weakening our competitive edge as we fail to invent, it is stealing the energy of our people.

Technology determines that we must spend time working with screens but it must not be allowed to limit the meaningful conversations we have with colleagues. A good conversation can:

  • Generate ideas
  • Build trust
  • Improve understanding
  • Motivate better performance

In the past a bell would ring each morning to signal a break, at which point workers would leave their desk or work bench and head to the canteen. This is when unstructured conversations would occur, ideas were generated and information shared.

We could do worse than to reinstate this 10 minute break to allow our teams to catch up in person. It’s all very well saying DON’T email a neighbour, far better to say DO have an informal conversation.

Better still, book significant time away from the office to review progress and develop as a team. Some organisations do this every 100 days. The away days come around quickly and it soon highlights which projects are slipping and where the new opportunities might be.

Put a date in your team’s diary to get away then give us a call to discover how to get the most out of it.

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