I was asked the question last week “Where are you based?” and I had to stop and think how to answer that simple question. It’s always been a straightforward answer, but I can no longer reply with just “Nottingham”. Even when I worked in sales and I was in the field for a large part of my week, the reply then was still defined by a variety of locations.

Zone 1: Connect 

In our “always on” mobile world this can happen anywhere thanks to Wi-Fi, and the array of apps and technologies. I connect with others and the world more often when I’m on the go at the airport, on the train or at a hotel; getting up to date on emails, engaging with linked in, meeting new people, reading articles, and team video calls. NB: Knowing when it’s time to switch off from this zone is important to ensure you aren’t always available and keep that balance in life and work.

Zone 2:  Create 

Being creative and having Aha moments is very personal and everyone gets their inspiration in different ways. I get my ideas for writing in my garden, out running, or just having some quiet time to reflect, in fact any inspiring view works for me. I recently had a 1-1 coaching session on a speedboat across the Norwegian Fjords and that definitely generated some new insights!

 Zone 3: Craft 

Writing reports, proposals, training materials, in depth research, all seems a lot quicker to get through when I’m alone. My home office works brilliantly for focused work as there are no distractions to interrupt my flow. Working from home can be considered lonely, but if I’ve had a week in Zones 1,2, and 4, I welcome the time here, plus I do have company from my “co-worker cat”!

Zone 4: Consult

 When delivering client engagements, I need to be where the client is (or their customers) so that I really get to know the people and their business. This face to face time is not only enjoyable, but I learn so much more about the culture and values by being absorbed in their workspace. Being where the client is, definitely brings a different energy to my work.

I’ve been fortunate to visit many different workplaces and it’s encouraging to see that for those who do have to be “present” and “on site” more regularly, there are more and more flexible and inspiring work spaces being developed to accommodate different zones: from treadmills for walking meetings, pods for thinking time, whiteboard walls for ideas forums, to lunchtime cross fit sessions to re-energise.

So whether you are employed or self-employed, having one set place for work is becoming increasingly rare and even if you aren’t out of the office that regularly you might recognise your own zones of work and how you use your work space to match your zone.

I’m sure we could all learn a lot more about people than just finding out the post code they happen to sit in for the majority of the week! So next time you think about asking “where do you work?” maybe a more insightful question to ask is….

“To be the most productive you can be, how do you work?

Lindsey Ulanowsky


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