Productivity should not come from obligation; it should be a side-effect of each individual’s passion for the task at hand and a true desire for results down the line. Unfortunately, reality seldom reflects this ideal.
It used to be a given; 40+ hours a week, industrial quantities of coffee and a get-‘er-done attitude would usually define the most productive employees of any given office.
Meanwhile, under the reign of productivity, several health issues began to rear their ugly heads, notably depressions, burnouts, substance abuse and exhaustion.
Many large companies worldwide have tried different approaches to this issue; flexible schedules, work-from-home initiatives, more vacation days, re-engineering of the office space, the list goes on with varying results. Some of the solutions have been recognized as good practices; for example, having a psychological help hotline or on-site mental health professional is a widely adopted and successful tactic. It is only logical that most companies should adopt such a practice.
A few years ago it seemed like the concept of the “office without walls” was the golden solution, adopted by tech heavyweights Google, Pixar and Facebook. This approach professed to boost productivity, enhance employee interactions and had the seductive bonus of costing less than a typical walled or cubicle-laden office.
Backed by several scientific studies, this article delineates how it turned out to not be the ideal solution we once thought it was.
The bottom line is that there are no perfect solutions to such a complex problem; the best way is to get to know your staff and try to solve the productivity issue with their collaboration. Many aspects of our daily lives are influenced by our jobs; our workplace and arrangements should thus strike a healthy balance between who we are and who we want to become.