Today, the nature of work has been upended. So what are the new rules for cultivating corporate productivity?
I explore that question in my brand-new book. It’s called Work Without Walls: An Executive’s Guide to Attention Management, Productivity, and the Future of Work. It will be available for pre-order on Amazon very soon. In the meantime, here’s a preview…
My first book was a guide to individual productivity. This time around, I’m looking at a new topic. How can we create work cultures that drive corporate productivity and help employees thrive?
In the book, I make the case that we need a new approach to corporate productivity. That’s true for two reasons. First, the shift from manufacturing to knowledge work means that companies’ primary “raw material” is employee brainpower. The “products” are intangible: ideas, information, communication, decisions.
Second, we’ve experienced rapid technological and cultural changes. These changes have taken work outside of traditional offices and upended conventional work hours. They’ve also accelerated communication.
These two developments are at odds. With more distraction and fewer boundaries between work and personal time, knowledge workers burn out and become disengaged.
How Do We Meet These Challenges?
Work Without Walls guides leaders who want to make changes — whether small and incremental or large and cultural — to support employees in bringing their “A game” and to create environments that give their organizations a strategic advantage.
It covers topics like these:
- Calm, happy, energized individuals and teams are the most productive. That means employers need to create workplaces that support these mental states.
- Technology and open-office environments create the biggest saboteur of knowledge work: distraction. Frantic, multitasking environments have become not only accepted but inadvertently encouraged. All of this prevents thoughtful, meaningful work. We need to reset the pace. We also need to replace conventional time-management instruction. This new work environment requires a new kind of training: attention management.
- Constant communication, especially email, also interferes with high-quality knowledge work. It’s relentless, and employees are drowning. Despite endless articles, tips, techniques, tools and even gamification, the problem isn’t improving.
- Time away from work helps employees recharge and refresh. It fosters creativity, innovation and motivation. These qualities are essential to knowledge work. So downtime and vacation are more important than ever. Yet employees continue to skimp on vacation time and stay tethered to the office around the clock.
- Open-office layouts are increasingly popular. Do they truly foster collaboration and innovation? Or do they create noise and chaos that prevent thoughtful work? What can you do if you’ve invested in a layout that you now realize isn’t serving you?
- The work-from-home debate seems paradoxical. One business magazine touts telecommuting as the wave of the future. The next decries it as terrible for workers. How can you sort out all the information and make the best decisions for your workplace?
- Employee productivity doesn’t “just happen.” Leaders must be intentional about behaviors, practices and policies. Yet this new environment makes the path unclear.
Work Without Walls provides a clear and manageable guide to increasing employee productivity. I identify the issues, evaluate the research, make recommendations based on my 20-plus years in the productivity industry and provide step-by-step action plans.
Praise for Work Without Walls
“Maura raises important points that have so far been missing from the discussion of these topics. This book is a must-read for leaders.”
Dr. Edward Hallowell
Best-selling author of Driven to Distraction at Work and Crazy Busy
and founder of the Hallowell Centers
“Work Without Walls will be a huge benefit to any leader whose team has struggled to stay focused at work and maintain a healthy work-life balance.”
Dr. Art Markman
Author of Smart Thinking and Smart Change
“This book is informative, engaging, practical, and innovative. It is an essential resource for organizational success today and into the future.”
Dr. John Dovidio
Professor of psychology, Yale University
If you’d like an advance copy of Work Without Walls in exchange for a review on Amazon, message me at maura(at)regainyourtime(dot)com.