Looking Out the Window

August 28, 2013

If you happen to be reading this blog at work, stop right now and get back to your inane emails and preparations for those boring meetings. I don’t want to be responsible for trying to question the bedrocks of corporate culture – endless emails and meetings.

This is what work has become in the modern age of technology and corporate culture. Studies have shown that 25% of the work day is taken up responding to emails and meetings devour precious time that could be used to enhance productivity. The Dutch have a name for endless office meetings – they call it meeting sickness.

Slowly but surely the corporate world is beginning to recognize that emails and meetings have gotten out of hand. Some bosses have started to see that giving workers time to think, free of emails and meetings, is the best way to get new ideas, new products, new strategies. If workers are to be productive they need time to dream, and should not be criticized or ostracized for pushing the delete button.

Changing the corporate culture has worked well in some companies and visionary leaders have embraced the dream approach to productivity. Bill Gates of Microsoft takes two weeks off and heads to his cabin in the woods to think and Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, called his downtime ” looking out the window time.”

Perhaps my favorite quote about the proper work ethic comes from Ronald Reagan. Never a slave to work, Reagan once said, ” It’s true, hard work never killed anybody, but I figure why take a chance.”?

Please don’t get out of your cubicle and stare out the window for an hour or angrily press that delete button announcing the next boring meeting. Most of the corporate world has not admitted that there is a disease called meeting sickness, at least not yet.

But it is time to have a serious discussion about email overload and meeting sickness and begin to give employees the opportunity to think and plan and develop a vision free of all the office minutiae.