Years ago, we were bound to our desks for the majority of the working day, save perhaps for a quick visit to the fax machine or the mail room to check on incoming letters (remember those?).
Today, with increasing demands in the workplace, expectations of employees being "always on" and carrying their own devices that bind us closer to work even though we may now be physically further away, tight travel schedules and so on, we don't always spend our working days at the office, let alone at our desks.
And it's time to celebrate that. When I look back across my career, I have done some of my best work on flights, in airports, on beaches, in hotel rooms, in coffee shops, on trains and many other places that one wouldn't consider to be typical venues for high quality work.
And why is that? I looked back at all of those times and started to see a pattern. I was choosing to do the work in those locations and I was in the moment when it came to the content that was ruminating in my mind. The time was right, even if - by traditional standards - the location was wrong.
By the same token, I work when I'm on vacation. Now, that might seem like an oxymoron, but it's true. Being free to think about what I want to think about allows my unconscious mind to give me ideas and insights that I wouldn't otherwise be able to generate if I was tied to a desk with the same four walls. And when those gems of ideas come forward, I want to make sure I've captured them and harnessed their true value.
When I go to a coffee shop, I no longer think it strange to see nearly every table occupied by people who have turned that three to five square foot space into a mini-office. We've come to accept that it's normal and aside from being put out that there's nowhere to sit because of them being there, we don't have an issue with it.
We choose to go on vacation to different places for the very same reason; we get to experience something new and that allows us to see things differently and learn about the world, ourselves and the people we are with.
When we choose to work in a location that's different from our assigned location, we do the same. We free ourselves up from the (albeit mental) constraints that we place on ourselves in that traditional working location and we break through the barriers of normal and into a world of possibilities.
So, the next time you want to solve a difficult problem or you're hoping to look at a challenge in a different way, get up from your office chair and head to somewhere new. Give yourself permission to work in that new location and find that you'll probably solve the problem in half the time and feel better about it, too.
And if you're manager is one for seeing you present in the office, then get him or her onside by selling the benefits of such a pattern of work to them. Slowly build up trust, let them see the fruits of your labor in a new location and allow them the opportunity to share in the upside of your new found creativity. If leaving the office to work more effectively and efficiently provides a benefit to them, I think they'll be behind it as much as you are. They might even try it themselves.
Rob Whitfield is the CEO and Founder of One Brit, No Bull, a corporate training and coaching company based in Los Angeles and operating worldwide. Rob can be contacted here or on (+1) 518 9NO BULL.
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As well as being an experienced management consultant and energetic public speaker, Rob Whitfield is a certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified Master Coach and a certified Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy. No Bull.