In the Zone

The new chief executive at Yahoo! recently issued a statement banning employees from working at home. The belief of the company executives is that the work ethic of Yahoo! employees has deteriorated over time. Requiring people to show up will serve as a way to keep track of employees and their progress. There is also a belief that being in an office surrounded by colleagues creates opportunities for innovation and inspiration. The statement memo also said, “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings.”

Atmosphere is very important for studying and working, and inspiration often comes when ideas are interchanged between peers or colleagues. One can observe different tendencies and consequences from working in different atmospheres. Appropriate environments stimulate motivation and inspiration, and it is our responsibility to find the environment that is best for us.

Working at home is convenient, and home becomes a shelter from the stress and competition that may be found at the workplace. But home is generally thought of as a place for rest or a place to spend time with family. There is very little motivation to challenge ourselves or to put in the extra effort. As a day student, over the past two years I have noticed a clear difference between my inner drive when I’m at home versus when I’m a school or working with a study group. With the right surroundings and the right people, there are less distractions than when I’m working on my own at home, and the result is clear from my performance in class.

Of course, that’s just the environment that works for me. Some might find that they work best alone in their dorm room or one-on-one with a friend.

By surrounding ourselves with people after the same goal, we unconsciously motivate and inspire ourselves. It is comparable to the concept of an athletic partner or group. We all possess some competitive nature, and we can push ourselves to go a little further if we see that everyone else around us is genuinely working hard. If we can force ourselves to find and utilize our own ideal studying or working environments, we may more effectively bring out our true potentials.

Andover provides its students with a certain freedom that is unique among high schools. Our school offers a huge range of studying atmospheres, ranging from the library to Paresky Commons to dorms. We have the opportunity to find environments for ourselves, and we can be our own judge for what works best for us. If you find that you aren’t being productive in one environment, try another out. With so many places available on campus, chances are you’ll find one that works.

Ada Li is a two-year Lower from Reading, Mass.