One of my favourite work-related quotes (never thought I’d write that sentence) is: work is something you do, not somewhere you go.
In fact, it was one of the founding principles of Writing Club.
It’s the perfect counter to the classic problem of presenteeism – something I’m sure we’ve all experienced in our careers and maybe even taken part in: the need to appear busy so we can be seen as hard workers.
We’re always hearing about how busy we all are. So busy. Mental. And yet the studies show that despite British workers putting in the longest hours in Europe, we’re the least productive.
There are wider debates around the four-day week and the rights and wrongs of John Maynard Keynes’ predictions but one factor which must play a part in our low productivity is our working environment – or, in short, the distraction machine that is the modern office.
It’s not hard to find articles and opinion pieces bagging open plan offices (‘Why work never happens at work’ etc.) But we think there’s a lot of truth in it. The fact is, modern offices don’t seem particularly conducive to doing any actual work!
Which makes the news that we’re getting ‘an office’ somewhat strange.
IT’S NOT AN OFFICE
At the risk of sounding pretentious, we’ve decided not to call it the office.
Because we don’t want an office. We don’t want office politics. Or gossip. (Well maybe a bit of gossip is okay.) And we definitely don’t want presenteeism. But most importantly of all, we don’t want people to have to leave in order to get work done.
We want somewhere that will help us do great work. A place that aids concentration, allowing us to work when we’re at our best and be productive and efficient so we can lead fulfilling lives. We want a Writing Room, not an office.
So that’s what we’ve got. It’s opening this week, in Clerkenwell. And we have a great way of judging its success: if you have to leave it to do great work, it’s not working.
Time to put it to the test.