More productive working at the coffee shop? Go ahead!

Employees want to choose when and where they get work done. Is that such a bad thing?

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Technology is a big driver of this. If we’re going to log in and be connected at all hours, we expect certain freedoms.

The Families and Work Institute 2012 National Study of Employers found we actually do have more flexibility when and where to work today, compared with 2005. In 2012, 77 percent of employers offered flex time, up from 66 percent in 2005. The bad news: We have less flexibility in reducing the amount of work we do.

At 37Signals, a Web software company in Chicago, employees are encouraged to find more freedom with their time and to “recharge” daily.

“I don’t believe in the 40-hour workweek,” says 37 Signals co-founder Jason Fried, who recharges midday by reading nonfiction books and drinking tea. 37 Signals doesn’t count vacation days and (gasp!) doesn’t have meetings. Employees use group chat software to post questions, make suggestions, and “meet” as needed.

Are “loose cultures” the new trend?

Google engineers spend 20 percent of their time on creative projects, and employees can nap in “pods.”

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