The average worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes out of an eight-hour workday. That statistic, based on a study of around 2,000 U.K. office workers, is cited in a recent Quartz at Work article by Allison Baum. As a venture investor in the future of work with Trinity Ventures, Baum is concerned with attracting and retaining talent, as well as facilitating the growth of human creativity and productivity — instead of simply allowing artificial intelligence to eat up half of U.S. jobs in the next couple of decades, as research from a variety of sources, including Oxford University, PwC, and McKinsey, seems to indicate.
A way to accomplish this, Baum writes, is to take notes from the “flipped classroom” concept: Instead of listening to lectures in the classroom and working on homework at home, flipped learning encourages students to “watch lectures and read at home, and then use class time to ask questions and practice applying their learning.”
This approach has also been taken in the meetings space. Business events hosts provide educational materials to attendees before they arrive on site and then design the sessions around helping them to apply what they’ve learned. Those session formats are interactive in nature so that participants can learn from each other.
How might that work in an office environment? “The building blocks of innovation — meeting new people, asking questions, brainstorming — are nearly impossible to accomplish in the office, so they get pushed to the fringes,” Baum writes. But a flipped workspace changes this dynamic: Individual work is handled outside of the office, “on your own time, in your own place, at your own pace,” Baum said. The office, then, becomes a space devoted to collaboration with colleagues and making connections.
Baum argues that a flipped workplace is better for employers and employees alike because it optimizes productivity. “Balancing remote work with in-person collaboration ensures cultural cohesion, creating an environment of momentum and trust when in the office,” she writes.
Baum believes that the future of work depends on universally embracing the flipped workspace, as employees will eventually begin to demand it. “My hope is that by increasing awareness and putting a name to the concept, we can proactively build a future of work that amplifies our humanity,” Baum writes, “instead of dampening it.”