“I dont know about you, but these tiny privacy screens, shared work environments, my phone beeping and bleating away with texts and notifications, and my email spamming the hell out me, I can’t get a bloody thing done anymore!”
That’s Rachael in HR describing her day to day from an undisclosed office in Sydney’s CBD.
It wasn’t that long ago that we had our own private cubicles, with little distraction but a few phone calls during an 8 hour work day. And boy, we really did get a lot of work done! So why the change? Has the increase in information sharing and the change in the way we share information had a positive effect on productivity? Most studies of modern work spaces show a decrease in productivity. Somewhere in the push towards open communication, we reached a threshold and pushed way beyond that threshold sending productivity and efficiency into a tailspin.
Activity based workstations, open plan offices, smart phones, social media, meetings for the sake of meetings, and the ever growing cluttered inbox are all contributing to work days that are all too often filled with anxiety and distraction rather than actual productivity.
We feel like we have too much to do, and at the same time can’t really do anything about it.
So what is the solution. Do we go back to the 70’s, throw away our phones, build walls around us, and delete our entire inbox?
Before we get too drastic, there are strategies we can use to help us cope with the modern office:
- Write a to do list in order of priority and start from the top
- Schedule 3 hours per day for uninterrupted power work. Place your phone on silent and ignore your inbox during this time
- Inform your colleagues and superiors that you are unavailable from 1pm-3pm every day for power working. They will come to accept your unavailability during this time.
If you follow these tips, you will be amazed at how quickly you will go from being time poor and frantic to a productivity machine with time to kill!