There is a link between having a distributed company and having a dog…

Photo: James Hanlon

There is… really…. James Hanlon on dogs, a distributed company and why the former helps the latter.

Walking my dog in the mornings is a daily reminder of why I love working in a distributed company.

I’m in the fresh air, I’m mobile.

I’m not sitting at a desk, wondering why the company coffee machine is broken and why no-one has seen fit to fix it.

It’s partly a stage-in-life thing: I’m getting older and my health is increasingly important to me. I’m getting a bit creaky. Sometimes I wake up and I feel that I’m putting myself together like a jigsaw.

That’s started to change. And there’s one big reason for that — we got ourselves a puppy. A lively little bugger And he needs exercise and the outdoors — and, suddenly, one of my greatest joys in life is taking him out early in the mornings. We walk for miles, just me and him… And it’s very cathartic, very liberating.

I can see how this can help my physical and my mental health. Exercise, fresh air and the time to think are all clear benefits. It’s a kind of mobile meditation. The jigsaw is getting easier to put together in the mornings.

What I wasn’t expecting his how much better it is making me at my job. Running aio* is no small matter, I have a frantic schedule, and I used to think my life wasn’t really my own. But after me and the dog have done our thing, we get back home and I can get straight to work — my mind is clear, my purpose is obvious, and I find myself so much more purposeful and articulate and better able to direct the team. I’m in charge of my world again.

And I’ve more energy. As with all jobs, there’s things which I just don’t especially relish — but now, I don’t find them so sapping. I still have the energy in a way I never did when I had the narcolepsy-inducing train commute. The time I wasted on trains is now much better used my me and the dog’s special time, re-booting mind and body for the day.

Not relying on the train companies is, in itself, empowering. It’s a significant advantage of the distributed company model. And even that small piece of empowerment feels like a valediction. *Aio is all about empowerment — about giving people the power to deliver in ways that work for them and their circumstances.

The distributed business we’re part of is one way we can reflect those brand values. There’s challenges which come from not being in the same room each day, but, we think the advantages of having the power of our own days, of taking advantage of tech tools to create shared digital rather than physical space, far outweigh them.

I know that to be true. And I think the dog knows it too.