In busy schools as much as any other kind of organisation, if we want to raise standards and achieve at higher levels of excellence we have to be willing to challenge some of the ways we work. This very short video from Fast Company highlights some of the things regularly done that severely undermine productivity. Reduced productivity means less scope to raise the bar in what we do.
The two that stood out for me the most were; batching email and clearly understood open door times. Unfortunately, too many are guilty of treating email as a form of instant messaging that demands and expects instant responses. This is enormously damaging to effective use of time, especially on major projects.
Years ago, when I worked for a bank in an open plan office we were very concerned at the impact of interruptions on work. Not only did it cause slower work, it often caused mistakes. So, we implemented a system of flags on desks. There was a clear understanding that if someone had their flag visible, they were working on something and should not be interrupted for anything other than an emergency. There were a few trust issues with individuals perceived to take advantage of the system to cut themselves off, but once those were addressed all believed they got more work done, to a higher standard (and could finish and go home earlier! ).
If we’re serious about raising standards we have to address productivity issues. Just asking people to work harder harder harder cannot be the answer. We have to all work smarter.
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