"Work naked - telecommute".
The old joke has evolved into
a business metaphor, with the publication of Work Naked -
Eight Essential Principles for Peak Performance in the Virtual
Workplace, by US virtual workplace expert Cynthia Froggatt.
"Your employees are smart,
creative, full of potential, but are outdated mindsets about
workstyles stifling their contributions? It's time to trust your
employees - and yourself - to Work Naked"
So runs the message on the
cover, and in many ways it sums up the book. It's time to strip
away the old layers that we habitually associate with work. Too
much of what we do is unnecessary, and is done for appearances'
sake or out of a misplaced conservatism. It's time to get
radical - and the virtual workplace gives us the opportunity to
liberate ourselves from those traditional and counter-productive
restraints - such as:
wasting time commuting
thinking we can only manage
people if we see them
working in unsuitable work
allocating work space on the
basis of status
not trusting employees.
So, if people go home and
want to work naked, why not? Having to dress for the part is no
longer appropriate. "Knowledge work," the author writes, "is not
something to be observed with the eye". Whether you are in the
office or not, no one can see if you are really working.
Dressing up and going to a workplace to do work which could be
done anywhere is essentially part of a ritual that has more to
do with controlling and impressing than with serious work.
Beyond the iconoclastic
humour of the title, Cynthia Froggatt outlines her "Eight
Principles" to redefine corporate culture in the new world of
work. The new culture should promote:
Initiative - having the
courage to innovate and change
Trust - moving from "how do I
know they are working" to "How will I know I'm being productive"
Joy - emphasising fun and
fulfilment rather than workaholism
Individuality - helping
individuals to discover the workstyle that suits them best
Equality - shedding status
symbols, territoriality and needless hierarchy
Dialogue - shedding office
politics in favour of open communication
Connectivity - reducing
reliance on face-to-face interaction and using the new
technologies to develop a wider sense of community
Workplace Options - shedding
the requirement for the commute to the corporate office,
increasing choice of workplace and redesigning common work
These themes are developed in a series of well
researched chapters, including frequent case study references.
Each chapter ends up with a summary outlining the things that
"change agents" should be responsible for, and the things that
employees should be responsible for themselves. There's also a
pretty good section on further resources.
The book is written with pace, and a kind of
missionary energy. The author clearly believes in her mission
for change. The result is a very readable book, providing access
to a wealth of information in plain English.
In summary: Fun title.
Serious book. Read it if you need to shake some corporate
If you work at home, and want
to work in your jim-jams, bikini, or in the altogether, why not?
Videoconferencing, I guess,
when it comes along.
But until then, your clothing
or lack of them can be seen as a symbolic casting off of corporate
inhibition. This is the view, at least, of Cynthia Froggatt in her
book Work Naked.
I say, if it's good enough for
Archimedes, why not the rest of us?
Work Naked - Eight Essential
Principles for Peak Performance in the Virtual Workplace, by
Cynthia Froggatt, is published by Jossey-Bass,
Further details on the website: