On trying to adopt the new collaboration tools:
Other employers rout out time-wasting email and meetings by training and requiring employees to use project-management applications, which typically store project files in one place online where all employees involved can see, update and comment on them as needed. This reduces the need for email or meetings.
In trying Basecamp,1 I have found that it can be difficult to get people to switch from tools they know to tools that are better that they don’t know. What often happens is teammates will be resistant and start jamming inboxes again and segments all the productive work between email and the new tool.
I often think that it’s an “old dogs can’t learn new tricks” mentality, but maybe it was my fault in assuming that they didn’t need to be trained.
Also, Back To Work recently talked about endless CC’ing, like this:
Those annoying CCs—which often trigger a tsunami of “reply all” responses—are major time-wasters. Senders should avoid use of mass-distribution lists if possible. Seagate coaches employees to omit recipients who don’t need to see an email. “There’s no need for spectators,” Ms. Motsinger says.
I don’t remember a good way to curb that behavior other than not repyling.
Be wary of pieces that use words like “we” to indicate “all of us” – are they speaking for you?
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
The point being made in these articles is almost always something like “we’ve automated almost everything, why can’t we all spend the day at the beach?”
Maybe some people get something out of being productive.
I enjoyed this piece about using new collaborative tools to get your office work done, but parts like this tip feel unfair.
- Spend more time summarizing or formatting a document than worrying about the actual content. Time and time again, people over-invest in the production qualities of a work product, only to realize that all that work was wasted, as most people consume it on a phone or look for the summary.
This is why I write emails in boring plain text. But when you have an Office Suite filled with features like stupid stationery and endless signature and formatting options don’t be surprised when staff wastes time exploring pretty useless things rather than getting actual work done.
I also believe that the best thing you can do for office productivity is get people who can write well and type fast. Oftentimes it’s like meetings occur because someone sucks at typing.
Nearly everyone I know who humblebrags about how busy they are would have more time if they didn’t go out of their way to let everyone know how busy they are. They are trying to convey how in-demand and wanted they are.
I’m calling BS on it.