Working from home is the most common method of working away from an office, but it’s not the only option. In this episode, we consider four different workspaces for Out of Office workers: the home office, public places like cafes and clubs, co-working spaces, and on the road.
Listen to the episode here:
Working Out Of Office means taking responsibility for many aspects of your working life, including staying healthy. There is mounting evidence that the sedentary lifestyle associated with desk work has a serious, negative impact on health. This can be exacerbated if you work Out Of Office because you are less likely to get up from your desk to go to a meeting room or visit a colleague. So, it’s particularly important for Out Of Office workers to make a conscious effort to incorporate healthy behaviours into their work routines.
Physician Natasha Withers lists 12 tips for staying healthy while working Out Of Office:
- Setup a separate workspace
- Choose a good chair
- Or ditch your chair altogether
- Get up every hour and get out at least once a day
- Set a schedule and stick to it
- Schedule workouts
- Schedule active meetings
- Create a soothing environment
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance by logging your time and setting limits
- Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meals
- Get showered and dressed as if you’re going to the office
- Get involved in a virtual telecommuter community
Although Out of Office work is attractive, it’s not always easy – especially when you’re just starting out. In this blog post, Melissa Hincha-Ownby discusses five challenges she faced as a telecommuter, and how she overcame them.
As Out Of Office workers we have a high degree of control over how our workspaces are set up. So, if you want to further improve your productivity beyond the high levels you already enjoy then you might consider investing in an indoor plant or two and shifting your desk close to a window.
According to a report by the World Green Buildings Council (WGBC) workers with access to natural light enjoy better sleep, better quality-of-life scores and higher productivity. Also having an expansive view was found to relieve stress and promote creativity. And “biophilia” – our affinity for living things – helps relieve stress, improve cognitive function and promote creativity.
Now, I’m not sure how much of the correlation reported by the WGBC is causal but at the very least creating a pleasant, natural workspace has got to be worthwhile. And if your opportunities for accessing natural light and biophilia in your home office are limited, well, you can always grab your smartphone and laptop and head for the nearest park.
If you’ve created a green workspace we’d love to hear from you. Please let us know your experience by leaving a comment.
One of the biggest groups clamouring for Out of Office work is the Millennials, or Generation Y’s. They see the obvious advantages of blending their work and home life, and have grown up with the technology that makes it possible. So the idea of working only from an office seems crazy to them.
In this videoconference, Millennials talk about the pros and cons of Out of Office work:
If you’re managing or working with Millennials, it’s well worth watching.
If you’re working in a distributed team, you might already know about some of the more common tools and apps, such as Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Skype, Buffer, and Hootsuite. These are all wonderful tools, but there are also a whole host of other tools available. We’re going to share some of them today, so you know about them and can consider whether it’s worth integrating them into your workplace.
Listen to the episode here:
- HiTask: A task management tool
- Trello: A workflow management tool
- Gmail Streak: A basic CRM integrated with Gmail
- HipChat: A chatroom application designed to help teams collaborate
- Slack: Competitor to HipChat, with many of the same features
- Sqwiggle: A simple chatroom aimed at distributed teams
- IDoneThis: A simple tool for teams to share what they’ve achieved each day
Connecting with the world:
I’ve been using HiTask for three weeks and it’s become central to my work flow. It has a simple user interface that allows you to organise all of your tasks in one place that’s accessible from your desktop, tablet and smartphone.
You can organise your tasks by project, date and assignee. I particularly like the ability to break down tasks into separate sub-tasks. HiTask also allows teams to coordinate their work on collaborative projects but I’ve not yet used this feature.
The video below provides an overview of the tool. If you like what you see then try it out.
One of the persistent myths about telecommuting is that teamwork suffers when team members work remotely. However, recent research finds that the key factors influencing successful teams have little to do with the proximity of team members. Ashley Speagle summarizes the science of successful teams:
- team members demonstrate a shared trust, purpose and understanding of team norms and mental processes
- team dynamics are built on a foundation of team building exercises, non-work communication, diversity and social sensitivity
- team members contribute equally and collectively score highly in reading emotions
The key message is that none of the features of successful teamwork is determined by whether workers are distributed or co-located.
One of the challenges with a distributed team is that different people might be in different time zones. As we become increasingly global and mobile, that is only going to be more common, so it’s useful to know how to manage this situation.
A recent Fast Company tackled this issue, giving advice like this – particularly for online meetings:
- Declare a “home” time zone, with normal business hours in that time zone – but of course with enough overlap for all your team members in other time zones.
- Minimise the use of videoconferencing, because it inconveniences people who have to attend outside normal hours.
- Minimise the need for follow-up after meetings, because that can cause delays for people in multiple time zones.
There’s no doubt telecommuting has increased, and that’s just one part of the changing workplace. Faxes, paper, fixed working hours, desktop computers, landline phones, and LANs are still around, but they are gradually being overtaken by electronic documents, the Cloud, flexible working hours, laptops, smartphone, and WiFi. In this episode we look at four key workplace trends, and how they affect Out of Office workers and their leaders.
Listen to the episode here:
- Read the Dynamic Business article Workplace productivity: 5 of the hottest trends in Aussie offices for 2015