Jason Fried: Why work doesn't happen at work

http://www.ted.com Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn't a good place to do it. At TEDxMidwest he lays out the main problems (ca...

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Comment by David Miller on December 14, 2012 at 9:43am

This is extremely interesting. I think most of us prefer to work from home, i often wondered what is stopping us? The technology is there (has been there for years) and it would save on commuting time, fuel and rent. We have been using Rizzoma's collaboration software for a while now and it's been working ok for the most of us. But then again this is just a tool for collaboration and that has never really been the problem, it's about a change of mind and how we perceive work. And i think it differs per company. Not all businesses are relying intensively on knowledge and have the right staff that can cope with the freedom of working at home all the time....

Comment by Rossleigh Brisbane on January 5, 2011 at 1:27am

I agree one hundred per cent.  

But it's difficult to convince students that they're working unless they're doing dull meaningless stuff which requires no thought at all.  After several lessons where the students were working in groups, talking, answering questions, then reporting back to the class, I asked them to write a summary of all that they'd learned. "You mean, we've actually gotta do work for once?" lamented a number of students.


Comment by Steve March on January 2, 2011 at 10:49am

What a great question "Where do you go to do your work?" But it sounds to me that Fried's unspoken definition of work leans toward the interpretation that work is about production of something (e.g., a report, a business plan, a software release, etc.). This notion of work is a hang-over from the industrial age when work was mainly about production.


In this day and age, more and more work is about collaboration with others. Production is still here, but the centerpiece of work is the network of social commitments that makes production meaningful and valuable. Work is about having conversations with others (e.g., co-workers, suppliers, customers, business partners, the media, the government, bloggers, etc.). In these conversations we build relationships, invent and explore new possibilities, and coordinate action.


So where do we go to do this kind of work?  I don't suspect that the answer is necessarily "the office." However, it is often far easier to collaborate when face-to-face with your collaborators.


As our understanding of "work" changes, I think our answers to Fried's question will change in interesting ways.  I'm glad he's asking this question and I want to back up one step and add the question "What is the nature of your work today?" before asking "And where do you go to do your work?"



Comment by Rossleigh Brisbane on December 12, 2010 at 12:56am
As I watched this I thought of the kids who ask to go to the library to get some work done - I usually view them cynically, but as I watched this I wondered!

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