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Now is the time to implement the flipped workplace at scale

By Quartz

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  • Jessica  Davidoff
    Jessica Davidoffpro3-time founder. CEO at STATE Bags.

    I love this!! So interesting to see this put into words - so many of our team members say things like “I’m going to work from a coffee shop this morning to get more work done” that it is definitely apparent that the office can sometimes waste time, but our goal for 2019 is for people to strike some sort of balance between coming in solely for meetings and having to be in the office all day. I find that being present for conversations, overhearing brainstorms is equally as important as scheduled meetings, email and projects.

  • The office is the ideal place for collaboration. Everything else can be done from anywhere. Managers: it’s time to let employees do individual work wherever and whenever they choose.

  • The “modern” office has origins in Medieval times - it’s time for an update. Here’s a concrete reimagining of what the workplace should look like. Neither distributed nor traditional, a flipped workplace focuses on productivity and creativity above all else.

  • Helen Edwards
    Helen EdwardsAlways curious at Koru Ventures

    I love the idea of taking something that has worked in education and applying it in work. The biggest upside will be that it makes available more of a scarce and valuable resource - the time and attention of peer coaches.

  • Dustin Blake
    Dustin BlakeRaconteur at Making Government Smarter

    Not only will this help ease some of the gridlock in cities during the typical commute hours, it will also recognize and accommodate the needs of people who are more productive at different times of day, allowing them adjust their work time to coincide with when they are naturally most creative and productive. Companies can still use their open office plans for collaborative work purposes, and the rest of the time, workers can be individually productive on their own (whether that be in peace and

    Not only will this help ease some of the gridlock in cities during the typical commute hours, it will also recognize and accommodate the needs of people who are more productive at different times of day, allowing them adjust their work time to coincide with when they are naturally most creative and productive. Companies can still use their open office plans for collaborative work purposes, and the rest of the time, workers can be individually productive on their own (whether that be in peace and quiet at home, in a coffee shop, or even in company provided work space - whatever works best for that particular work day or employee need).

  • This is the best read about office productivity since I read the Netflix presentation on workplace culture. Count me in. Time to flip.

  • My team at TED is the most distributed I've worked with (we are about 25% Co-located). I agree that flexibility to work remotely can improve individual work and obviously reduce distractions.

    I love this, in concept, but this structure also introduces a slew of other problems with respect to communication, mentorship, heirarchy, and collaboration. I would say this setup is not equally beneficial for every team, or every role.

    The analogy to education is an interesting one because it highlights

    My team at TED is the most distributed I've worked with (we are about 25% Co-located). I agree that flexibility to work remotely can improve individual work and obviously reduce distractions.

    I love this, in concept, but this structure also introduces a slew of other problems with respect to communication, mentorship, heirarchy, and collaboration. I would say this setup is not equally beneficial for every team, or every role.

    The analogy to education is an interesting one because it highlights how we work in different modes and at different knowledge levels. Much of the work we do is producing and building rather than learning and consuming.

  • Pete Bernard
    Pete BernardMicrosoft

    As someone who floats around the Microsoft campus and other locations to do my #work, and also invests in face to face engagements, this makes a great deal of sense to me.

    #Microsoft Teams and #LTE enables me to pull together meetings basically anywhere, I can get my "lone" work done pretty much anywhere, and I save the face-to-faces for having important conversations.

  • Nick George
    Nick GeorgeLead Software Engineer at Valorem Reply

    A great intro into the concept, but it needs more thought. More and more companies need to go this direction, allow people to primarily work away from the office and only come in for deliberate collaboration. Proper guardrails must be put into place to allow this to work.

  • Agree with this 100%. But simply giving employees the flexibility to work from home isn’t enough. Many professions still tie compensation and bonuses implicitly to the concept of “face time”.

    Both culture AND incentive structures need to change in order for this to be truly impactful.

  • Amy Miller
    Amy MillerPresident at Miller Mediation and Solution

    So what’s the difference of being a solopreneur working in a collaboration workspace and working for a single company in a flipped office? Who’s the boss? This solution is the current environment for solopreneurs. It works because they don’t have anyone providing production numbers, process adherence and feedback loops to rank with their peers.

  • Sean Minuti
    Sean MinutiSoftware Architect

    Coming from a more traditional 'office & lab' type engineering industry, we are also rethinking some of the recent workplace trends. So, offices and cubes of the traditional workplace, with too much space per person and not enough collaborative work spaces, started giving way to open space concepts and collaborative desk arrangements, going too far in the other direction, so the compromise is individual office spaces, smaller than traditional offices, larger than having just a collaborative desk

    Coming from a more traditional 'office & lab' type engineering industry, we are also rethinking some of the recent workplace trends. So, offices and cubes of the traditional workplace, with too much space per person and not enough collaborative work spaces, started giving way to open space concepts and collaborative desk arrangements, going too far in the other direction, so the compromise is individual office spaces, smaller than traditional offices, larger than having just a collaborative desk, no doors for most, but use turns and curved office Alleys to keep the feeling of small team space, separate from more open Plazas of collaborative desks and meeting tables for those times when people need to work together. So, similar to the flipped office, but still all together in the office, which fits industries where working outside the office more than 1/4 time isn't really possible. And the Alleys and Plazas would be modelled after medieval Mediterranean city architectures, winding side streets opening up to Plazas. Dedicated 'home' space for working alone or in pairs, combined with larger open spaces for daily team tag-up discussions, brainstorming and break-out conversations, so you don't annoy your neighbors. The Harvard workplace studies are showing that purely open space floorplans are killing productivity. People need the home-base feel of a small office to work quietly and not be out in the open all the time. Semi-private team Alleys and larger project group Plazas seems like the natural compromise. Buon Giorno! Buenos dias!

  • Tony Hunter
    Tony HunterChairman at Nucleus Marketing Solutions

    I enjoyed this take on how to attract and retain talent. The hours spent addressing mindless requests and attending unproductive meetings is a buzz killer for employees...especially talented employees. Leadership is all about creating an environment where people can do their best work; this article offers valuable insights and ideas on how to accomplish that goal.

  • Dr Gail Barnes
    Dr Gail BarnesPartner at Personify LLC

    Interesting reading. At Personify we've already flipped.

  • Che Hammond
    Che Hammond

    Not sold on this idea. Serendipity plays a large role in sparking great ideas and heading off bad ideas. So it’s important that people be in physical contact with each other. Not just in their offices but also in common spaces where they can “randomly” interact with people in groups they wouldn’t normally interact with.

    Furthermore, this idea doesn’t seem well suited to people with families. When not in the office many folks are completely consumed with family obligations. So for this model to work

    Not sold on this idea. Serendipity plays a large role in sparking great ideas and heading off bad ideas. So it’s important that people be in physical contact with each other. Not just in their offices but also in common spaces where they can “randomly” interact with people in groups they wouldn’t normally interact with.

    Furthermore, this idea doesn’t seem well suited to people with families. When not in the office many folks are completely consumed with family obligations. So for this model to work it seems like you might want to do a few days in the office and a few days out. Otherwise this model devolves into 8 hours of meetings and context switching followed by another 4+ hours of actual work at home that happens when the kids go to bed (or advantages people without kids or with grown children).

    Even better, imho, would be to exercise radical control and discipline over meetings. Make them as small and focused and possible. Set concrete goals for the meetings and leave with concrete plans of action (where the plan of action is NOT to have a follow up meeting). And primarily task managers (and above) with meetings, freeing up individual contributors to do their work. The manager then becomes critical in setting context for the IC’s. And the IC’s are free to self organize to get tasks done. That will involve a mix of collaboration and isolation. But it should almost always happen in the office where people can be easily accessed, questions answered quickly and with detail/nuance not suited for Slack and with the ability for others to chime in if need be (aka serendipity).

  • David Yakobovitch
    David YakobovitchAI Professor at Galvanize

    The workplace should go back into having territories for each individual. People deserve their privacy at work, and a traditional setting; that is if you are in the USA.

  • Faisal T
    Faisal TCEO at Gulf One Capital

    This supports the current trend and will allow for further migration from norms to befit new working environment. In light of technology as a whole the deffention of productivity will need to be extended or changed to allow full acceptance of such change in working environment

  • Floyd  Marinescu
    Floyd MarinescuCEO at C4Media

    At C4Media we’ve run all remote for 14 years. A key to make that work is results based as the article quotes: “with clearly established rules of engagement for them, is essential. So is choosing the right performance indicators and metrics-driven review systems”

  • Arielle  Mclean
    Arielle McleanOverindulged Millennial

    Growing up with an attention deficit disorder, I’d always have this approach to virtually anything that required my attention. If there were people around - I would converse. So I’d take the time at home to learn the material, then talk about it at school - two birds. Now older and being more focused I still do this. The best way to learn is to test yourself - so working at home gaining the understanding first, then applying it in an empirical way is bound to create a 360 understanding of a concept

    Growing up with an attention deficit disorder, I’d always have this approach to virtually anything that required my attention. If there were people around - I would converse. So I’d take the time at home to learn the material, then talk about it at school - two birds. Now older and being more focused I still do this. The best way to learn is to test yourself - so working at home gaining the understanding first, then applying it in an empirical way is bound to create a 360 understanding of a concept be it for school or work. I’m already onboard - not to mention the vast array of distractions we have at any given time. The very computer we work on is a portal to just about anything that crosses your mind leave you with even the most vague curiosity.

  • Redesign! Heck yes.

  • Teddy Dotson
    Teddy DotsonCOO at Boomerang

    Isn't that the reason for autonomy; have more time for & to ourselves? Think & learn. Those who've made autonomy possible will have eventually perfected the art of mind control.

  • Rebekah Paul
    Rebekah PaulB2B Marketing

    >the office transforms into a space purely dedicated to meeting people, asking questions, brainstorming, and making unexpected connections. 

    Except the people you need to meet to brainstorm and have "unexpected" connections with are all working at home. 🤔

  • Amber Kenaga
    Amber KenagaQE LPN II at Department of Mental Health

    I was just talking about this today with a coworker... as I made my millionth trip up cubicle row to the printer..

  • Steve Nevins
    Steve Nevins

    The inability to cope and adapt has taken over many who are undisciplined in being able to "get the job done" in traditional settings. Unfortunately, for them, classrooms and workplaces do NOT have to adapt to their unproductivity. The empliyers will let them go and seek others who can. In regards to school, they will move through the system never actually learning the skills needed in the work world and wondering why they can't hold a job.

    Believe it or not, people actually went through traditional

    The inability to cope and adapt has taken over many who are undisciplined in being able to "get the job done" in traditional settings. Unfortunately, for them, classrooms and workplaces do NOT have to adapt to their unproductivity. The empliyers will let them go and seek others who can. In regards to school, they will move through the system never actually learning the skills needed in the work world and wondering why they can't hold a job.

    Believe it or not, people actually went through traditional education and produced in thd workplace for decades as the US built the greatest economy in the world.

  • Yes! 👍

  • Learning returning to Socratic roots

  • Stacy Lep
    Stacy Lep

    Yay

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