You are currently viewing I’d love your thoughts on this HBR article I co-wrote!

I’d love your thoughts on this HBR article I co-wrote!

Last month, I published an article – ostensibly about the virtues of commuting — with my friend and collaborator James Bailey in Harvard Business Review.  This blog post is really about that article, but before I jump into that…a few words about Dr. Bailey…

It has been my distinct pleasure to know James and to have him as one of my best friends and colleagues over the past 10 years.  He is a keen observer of all types of phenomena in organizations and leadership.  And, as a result, he is a frequent writer and commentator on a wide variety of topics.  His thoughts are insightful, exceptionally well written and often very funny (though, to be fair, he is funnier live than in writing).  He’ll make you and your organization think.  So, I encourage you to check him out at

And, now to the article itself…in truth, I’d love it if you just read the article and told me what you thought, here on my blog so that I can see it and we can engage in conversation about it.  Here’s the link to the article on my website:

But, the story behind it and the aftermath is why I am writing today.  James and I didn’t set out to write about the commute. More specifically, we didn’t set out to extol the virtues of the commute.  The entire article was motivated by my observation, as a professor, that during the pandemic my graduate students would log onto Zoom (or Blackboard or whatever) at 7:10pm for our 7:10pm class having just left some other meeting.  This was different from how life had been when my classes met on campus.  Then, my students would commute from spots as far as 45 minutes away (and some as close as 2 floors in the same building) to get to class.  My observation when we moved to video was that they were not as mentally or emotionally prepared for class.  This made sense to me as their transition was a little as 10 seconds and certainly not 45 minutes.  I also recognized at the time that I was in the same boat…sometimes. While I always had prep time for class, I wasn’t always making a smooth transition from personal life to other work during the pandemic…or, should I say, during Work From Home. So, I was missing something for myself as well as seeing it in my students.

That’s what motivated the article.

Somewhere along the line though, the article (and its title) became a bit of a send up of commuting. And, as a result, it motivated some negative feedback from readers who thought that James and I were too narrow, possibly even biased, in our thinking and analysis.  I’ll take that, not because I think we were biased (though maybe we were), but more because the main message for me is NOT “bring back commuting.”   My bad on that. 

Rather, the main message for me is this: How do we prepare ourselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally for different parts of our lives and days? In this case, how do we close off one day part (let’s say morning, breakfast, kids getting ready) so that we can move into another day part (in this case “work”)? That’s what is really on my mind.

So, I encourage you to take a read: And, even more importantly, I’d love it if you’d drop your comments here on my blog!

Thanks so much! I look forward to talking more!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. John McCarthy

    I really loved the article gentlemen. Thank you for sharing. I especially liked the fact that you pointed out that we need to prioritize the time in our day for ourselves that is now missing due to lack of commute. I personally found during some of the worst times in the pandemic, my wife and I got a lot out of pre and post-work walks. That walk around the block before and after work I think helped us with the Initiation and Closure you both refer to.

    I personally enjoy the added time in my day. I think more of us need to maximize that time. Always a pleasure to learn from two great minds collaborating on such an awesome topic. Let’s hear more!!!

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