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Makers and managers

Makers and managers

Paul Graham’s 2009 essay, “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, describes the differences that lead these these two factions to clash:

  • “The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals."
  • On the other hand, makers operate effectively on a different schedule entirely — one that prioritizes focus: “…there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started. "

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Offices optimize for busyness

Office cultures often reward the most visible, vocal workers, incentivizing people to “be visible and vocal, often”.

  • Employees arrive early and leave late; they’re in the office before their boss and still seated as they leave.
  • Being visible at meetings is rewarded and people tend to fill up their calendars in an attempt to appear present and engaged.
  • Quick responses in Slack are expected and team members expected — either explicitly or implicitly — to reply to messages as they arrive.

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When meetings fill the workday

When meetings fill the workday

The ease of scheduling meetings in the office without consideration for their bigger impact is precisely why they’re such a threat to productivity.

While porting over office culture to remote work can cause the same meeting culture to arise while people work from home, impromptu meetings are easier to suggest when you can walk by someone’s desk and scheduling is easier when everyone is working in the same time zone. 

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Open floor plans create distractions

Open floor plans create distractions

Open floor plans are justified through their ability to generate collaboration across departments and lead to more innovative ideas. But this idea is largely flawed.

Unfortunately, most workplaces lean into busy open offices where collaboration is overemphasized and individual contribution is sidelined.

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Why remote work is better for makers

Remote work, whether working from home or intentionally opting for a co-workspace of choice, allows makers to flourish. 

Far from the expanse of an open office, individuals can dedicate large blocks of their day to focused work in an environment where a makers’ schedule is the default rather than the exception

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How managers can support makers

  • Embrace remote work (in some form): Not every company can transition out of the office permanently, in the short-term or the long-term. In these cases, it’s worth considering a remote-ish option where some employees work in the office while others work remotely. 
  • Make a delayed response the default expectation. Employees shouldn’t need an excuse to close their communication apps in order to focus on their work.
  • Assess existing meetings. The goal should be minimization, not elimination.
  • Reward results, not presence. Reserve praise and promotions for quality work rather than who responds most quickly or is the most visible.

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CURATED BY

ralcal

Commercial art gallery manager

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