More and more people are choosing to work remotely because working out of an office just isn't very appealing. More importantly, people don't seem to actually be able to get any work done at the office. Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37signals (the company behind Basecamp), discusses how organizations can make offices more productive in a TED Talk.
Fried talks about the M&Ms -- managers and meetings -- the two major problems in every company. Managers have the job of managing, which means they are constantly interrupting the creators of the company. The problem is they interrupt at the wrong times, causing employees to lose focus. Meetings are almost always called by managers and, especially when spontaneous, are very disruptive. Meetings usually involve too many people and actually end up becoming very expensive to organizations because of the collected lost hours of productivity.
To combat the M&Ms, Fried has three suggestions. First, he says, implement No Talk Thursdays. Once a month spend an entire afternoon without any talking. The quiet atmosphere will cancel out interruptions and will give employees a big boost in productivity. Then, switch from active to passive forms of communication. Instead of interrupting coworkers with a question, use email or IM to communicate. While these too can become distracting, Fried points out that you can easily sign-out, minimize windows and ignore messages until you are ready to check them. Lastly, Fried suggests canceling your next meeting. Whatever meeting that may be, just cancel it. You'll probably realize the meeting itself wasn't actually necessary.
You can see what else Fried has to say in the video below.