“Why Work Doesn’t Work” is a CBC interview with Jason Fried. He discusses the workplace, sane work hours, and meetings vs. communicating with passive communication tools (i.e. ones that don’t require interruptions).
Communication doesn’t always have to be in real time. It can be in what we call “slow time.” You can post something and three hours later someone can get back to you and then four hours later someone else can get back to you. And everything will work out just fine.
Slow time is “Maybe it takes two or three days to have this conversation. And we do it over periods of 15 minutes here, two minutes there, four minutes there.” And that’s fine. It doesn’t need to happen all at once. Unless it’s really, incredibly, truly urgent. (Which most things aren’t. They’re made out to be that way, but they really aren’t that important.)
Meetings basically make things happen all at once. And that means you’re pulling a bunch of people off their work to have this “right now” conversation. It’s very disruptive for a bunch of people. So if they can communicate over a long period of time instead, it’s much better.
I think companies would benefit from giving employees a lot more autonomy and alone time to do their work. And then when they do need to come together, it can be more special and more meaningful. It’s like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time – it’s kind of a special moment for a couple hours and then you go break up and go back to your own lives and that’s fine. And that’s how we like to treat our work here.
We also try to have sane working hours. And four day workweeks during the summer. What we’ve found is that when people have fewer hours to work, they put more time into the work. It’s like anything. If you have less of it, you conserve it a bit more. You use it better. If you have fewer dollars left, you’re probably not going to go out and buy a big screen TV if you don’t need one. You’re going to put those dollars to work in a more efficient manner. It’s the same way with time. If you only have 32 hours this week to get something done, you’re not going to waste time.
Don’t break Parkinson’s Law (i.e. “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”)
Note: Text above condensed and compiled from various answers. Listen to the full interview.