iTunes U Course: TED Talks Leading Wisely
Lecture (iTunes): Jason Fried: Why work doesn't happen at work
Jason Fried presents a compelling theory the the office is not a good place to get work done. His argument is that while in the office, we spend far too much time being interrupted by meetings, phone calls, email, IM, etc., that we can't actually focus and get anything done.
Jason suggests that work is like sleep, in that there are several stages that we go through. When sleeping our body goes through phases until were are in a stage of very deep, REM sleep, and this is where the body can recover from the day. He goes on that we would never say that we got a good night's rest if we were interrupted every few minutes or even every hour.
We get our best work done, as we get deeper we can get into work-mode, uninterrupted.
Some of his points are compelling, other are downright hilarious. Towards the end of his talk, Jason suggests that as managers, we need to call a "no-meeting-Thursday", at least monthly, if not weekly. No meetings, no phone calls, nothing. This way people can come to the office and have the ability to focus for a full day without interruptions.
In my career at Salesforce.com, one of my customers is Facebook. As an organization, Facebook subscribes to this same theory and in practice...it works! At Facebook, many managers frown upon meetings, loath Powerpoint and prefer to exchange ideas in hallway conversations or around many of the public open spaces.
This type of environment keps the ideas flowing and is one of the many reasons that people love working there.