Wind blowing the sounds of trumpets, laughter, and dinner parties across the Savannah River makes my perch on my hotel balcony feel like it’s at the center of this historic city. Tonight I flew from a workshop for a group of women executives in Miami to Savannah, Ga., where I will keynote for a software company’s annual conference tomorrow. Then a workshop in New York.
While I’d love to be tucking my kids in bed right now, I also relish this pace of travel, when the boundaries between day and night, work and play, blur. This is how life was meant to be constructed.
If you look at when in your life you were most productive and engaged, I would not be surprised if you concluded it was during college, on campus, when you had no artificial check-in and check-out times, no office to be seen working in, when you simply did what there was to do when the time was right.
I think that somehow work will evolve back to that rhythm.
Nike long ago realized it, which is why Phil Knight, its cofounder, designed Nike headquarters to be a campus. If you have visited Google’s headquarters, you’ve witnessed the same design ethic. People walk through yards and bump into colleagues, read under trees in fields, take yoga breaks, and generally work when and where they find they can most effectively achieve their goals.
If we can move away from controlling how people work and instead focus on the outcomes of their efforts, we will enjoy a better and more productive world.