What happens when we disconnect to reconnect with our work and each other?
Sometimes, the most potent workplace changes come from challenging our most fundamental habits. Enter the latest experiment at our San Francisco office: Airplane Mode.
What is Airplane Mode?
Starting this week (Oct 16, 2023), we're shutting off the internet for 100 minutes once a week, every week.
No Wi-Fi, no emails, no online distractions — just pure focus.
Why Airplane Mode?
Several reasons led us to this experiment:
- Deep focus: The 100-minute window isn't arbitrary. We believe it's long enough to allow our team to dive deep into tasks, fostering a space for innovation and creativity, without being so prolonged that it feels restrictive.
- Minimizing disruption: By setting this period every Wednesday from 1:30-3:10pm PT, we aim to accommodate our colleagues in the Eastern Time zone and reduce potential scheduling conflicts.
- Preparation: This setup encourages proactiveness. We're asking our team to prepare for this offline period, which means thinking ahead about the resources they'll need, be it documents, design drafts, or spreadsheets.
Before we go dark, notifications will serve as reminders, sent out 15 minutes and again 3 minutes before the offline period. It's a prompt for our team to wrap up online tasks and gear up for a productive Airplane Mode.
The overarching aim is to discover the potential unlocked when an entire team disconnects from the online world. Will team members delve into industry-related books? Perhaps they'll use this time to brainstorm with colleagues face-to-face or catch up on emails (for those interested, here’s a guide to enable offline mode in Gmail).
While this is a new venture for us, and we're unsure of the outcomes, our goal remains clear: to observe, learn, and innovate. We're excited about the possibilities and the lessons this experiment might teach us about work, productivity, and creativity.
Always be testing. And in this case, sometimes that means testing what happens when we disconnect to reconnect with our work and each other.