14/07/03

Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn’t a good place to do it. In his talk, he lays out the main problems (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work. (Filmed at TEDxMidWest.)

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Glossary

  • basement – the floor of a building which is partly or entirely below ground level
  • commute – a regular journey of some distance to and from one’s place of work
  • shred – tear or cut into tiny pieces
  • distraction – a thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something else
  • enlighten – give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation
  • encourage – give support, confidence, or hope to (someone)

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Think about it

Answer the questions below. Pause at the times indicated in brackets.

  • Why do people go to the office every day? (0:58)
  • Where do people go and what do they need to get their work done? (3:10)
  • Does your day at work look similar to what Jason Fried has described? (3:55)
  • What do people really need to get the work done? Do you agree? (5:01)
  • What are the similarities between sleep and work? (6:42)
  • What is the difference between distractions at the office and those at home? Which are more counterproductive and why? (7:45)
  • What are M&Ms? (9:38)
  • What is Jason’s Fried opinion about meetings? Why are they counterproductive? (11:24)
  • What three suggestions does Jason Fried have to improve the quality of work at the office?

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Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words.

And what you find is that, especially ________ creative people — designers, programmers, writers, engineers, thinkers — that people really need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get something ________. You cannot ask somebody to be creative ________ 15 minutes and really think about a problem. You might have a quick idea, but to be ________ deep thought about a problem and really consider a problem carefully, you need long stretches of uninterrupted time. And even though the workday is typically eight hours, ________ many people here have ever ________ eight hours to themselves at the office? How about seven hours? Six? Five? Four? When’s the last time you ________ three hours to yourself at ________ office? Two hours? One, maybe? Very, very few people actually have long stretches of uninterrupted time at ________ office. And this is why people choose to do work ________ home, or they might go to ________ office, but they might go to the office really early in ________ day, or late ________ night when no one’s around, or they stick around after everyone’s left, or they go in ________ the weekends, or they get work done ________ the plane, or they get work done in ________ car or ________ the train because there are ________ distractions.

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Explore it more

6 Steps to Make Working from Home Work

Four Ways To Make Working From Home Work For You

Making the case to work from home

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