I remember how much I resonated with the phrase from the book Rework: “you’ve got to get in the alone zone.” And, it helped me understand the why behind turning off all distractions, and focusing in on the task at hand. In other words, when you have work that you need to do, and it is best to do it alone, then get in the “alone zone” to get that work done.
But, now I have finished reading the new book by Geoff Colvin, Humans are Underrated. (I’m presenting this book this Friday at the Oct. 2 First Friday Book Synopsis). Though he does not use “together zone” as a phrase, I think the phrase captures what he means. There is some work – some very important work; a lot of very important work – that can only be done together.
And this “together” work really does require physical togetherness: seeing each other’s gestures, body language, making real eyeball-to-eyeball contact. When the conversation is “together” conversation, you can better detect tone and mood. You actually, successfully interact.
Here’s just one short quote, of many, from the book:
To look into someone’s eyes—that turns out to be, metaphorically and quite often literally, the key to high-value work in the coming economy…
So, maybe the modern workplace, and maybe the future workplace, belongs to those who can go back and forth between their “alone zone” work and their “together zone” work.