Does Your Office Keep You From Getting Work Done?
The email constantly pings, the fluorescent lights are blinding, the parade of meetings never ends, and the flow of drive-by chats with co-workers continues all day long; then there's your boss, who seems to want you to spend more time updating him on your work than actually getting it done.
It's no wonder it's so hard to get work done at work.
The Workplace Is The Problem
Don't worry: It's not you, it's your work place, says Gina Masullo, a former corporate communications desk jockey, now turned marketing agency entrepreneur. She believes, "the modern workplace is in dire need of a fresh approach."
Masullo says that while employees are responsible for allowing themselves to get caught up in time-sucking office activities, the blame falls mostly on employers for expecting workers to be motivated and productive in a way that's old-fashioned and out of sync with modern living. "It's simply not natural to expect all employees to punch in at 9, sit in the same chair until 6, and punch out. This may work for some, but for many people it doesn't align with their personal, nutritional or motivational needs."
Home Offices Cut Work Distractions
Marsha Egan, an expert on workplace productivity, says workplace environments provide too many distractions that make it easy to waste time. "We live in an ADD world in which technology slams us intermittently all day. Each time we are distracted by email it takes four minutes to recover. If you're like most people who check their email several times throughout the day, you could be losing hours of work."
After Masullo left her corporate job she was a little afraid of running a consulting business from her small New York City apartment because of all the distractions like TV, errands and the kitchen. She found out what most cubicle refugees do, that the at-home distractions pale in comparison to the ones at the office. She now enjoys several extra hours of work each day with less stress.
Boundary-Less Work Spaces
Open-space floor plans filled with Dilbertesque cube farms have taken over most offices. While this boundary-less environment is supposed to increase communication and thus productivity, "The lack of privacy lends itself to a lack of focus," says Kathi Elster, co-author of Working With You Is Killing Me. "Interruptions are stressful and once we are interrupted it takes time to get back to what we were doing."
Exacerbating this boundary-less workplace is the bad example set by bosses who can't hide their own inefficient work styles behind office doors, says Bill Watson, CPA, and owner of the Advanced Business Group. "Employees, both good and bad, will manage their time according to their boss," so unproductive employees could be following their boss' bad example.
The Ideal Workplace
Sarah Grolnic-McClurg, a solopreneur who does PR through her company, Pounce! PR, has worked from home for ten years and calls it "pretty ideal." Besides there being no office gossip to deal with, everything is set up to her liking.
She cautions, "I know people who have home offices who say they are constantly distracted because the laundry beckons and so forth. I find that I can focus very well. When I need a break from work to refresh, I can pop up and vacuum a room and then get back to work satisfied that something else has also been accomplished."