No Talk Thursdays: Is Quiet Time or Collaboration the Key to Workplace Productivity?

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Theories Vary About Office Chatter, Making Time for Innovation

Business consultant and contributor to StaffingTalk.com David Gee recently pitched a somewhat taboo concept: Keep quiet, keep your head down and do your work. HIs article argues that meetings and in-person talking are often a waste of time, and should be replaced by instant messaging communication and fewer face-to-face interactions.

Aspects of Gee's argument are not brand new. In 2011, Forbes wrote about "No Talk Thursdays," an idea explored at a Ted Conference in which workers are encouraged to take an entire day to themselves to focus strictly on work and not on office interactions.

But Gee's ideas are drawing fire from many staffing professionals, several of which are asking if he is out of his mind. Some are accusing him of having worked at "lousy" organizations to feel this way about inter-office communication.

The article argues that creative types in particular need to have long bouts of uninterrupted work time to truly let the creative juices flow.

But if employees are forbidden to communicate, will they just spend time elsewhere? A 2012 survey by Salary.com revealed that 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites every day at work. Of that number, 39 percent spend an hour or less per week on non-work related activities. Three percent admitted to wasting 10 or more hours a week doing unrelated activities.

Would fewer meetings and more quiet time be the key to a productive workplace? Or do people simply need to better balance their day?

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