Lubing Away Workplace Friction

Friction exists when two objects rub up against one another. Drag on the system. Slow up the action.

In our work lives, whether at home or in the marketplace, friction exists all around us. It’s the meeting that goes too long, the computer that is too slow, or the conversation that is overly negative.

Now imagine a workflow that is seamless, almost without friction. I can because I’ve seen it.

This past summer, I visited Steelcase in Michigan. Long known for their office furniture, Steelcase is now making history by rethinking the workplace- one without friction. I saw spaces for quick meetings, tables that double up as writing space, and slightly private areas for conversations that require a bit more privacy. They have a ton of writing boards so that when the muse strikes, you’ve got something on which to write. They give their employees permission to get creative, wherever and whenever.

I’m trying to practice this principle at my school. We’ve been using Nozbe for group projects, which has minimized the need for meetings. We’re installing white boards in specific work environments so that conversations can be memorialized on the wall. I’m working from home two hours a week, which recharges my batteries. It’s a start.

How frictionless is your workplace? What can you do this week to reduce drag on your system or that of someone around you?

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