The Case For Ignoring People At Work

The Case For Ignoring People At Work

37Signals honcho and Rework author Jason Fried explains why his company, and perhaps yours, benefits mightily from making passive tools like web chat, IM and even email a default communication tool, rather than calling meetings, yelling names and knocking on doors.

We’ve previously pointed to Fried’s thoughts on how proximity kills productivity through such means as keeping unplugged earphones in your ears. Fried makes a strong argument for the non-emergency nature of most workplace interruptions, though — in almost every case, a ping in a web chat or IM would have sufficed, and not answering it until you were done focusing on what you had to focus on would be fine.

Then again, Fried manages a company full of programmers that make minimalist web software, and admits that there’s (intentionally) not much of a hierarchy at his firm. You may not be able to just shut the door or give mean stares from your desk — and many BoingBoing commenters promote the subtle values of coworker distractions. Still, Fried’s video chat is a good reminder that we can all probably benefit from directing our coworker to our inboxes.

Why You Can’t Work at Work [The Big Think via BoingBoing]


  • My previous job was just like Jason says.

    Clueless managers called endless meetings just to be seen to be doing something. The workplace was like a noisy social club and the extroverts loved it.

    It was so bad, the only real work was done after hours just as Jason says.

    Business needs to recognise that the real work is often performed by diligent introverts who are capable of focusing on detailed tasks for lengthy periods of time, provided they have a bit of peace and quiet.

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