Out of Office workers are used to being connected and online most of the time. But there might be times when you want to “switch off” and be offline for an extended period. In this episode, we look at how to prepare for it, do it, and follow up effectively.
Listen to the episode here:
One of the main arguments against Out of Office work is that it creates barriers and obstacles between people connecting with each other. On the surface, it’s hard to argue with that reasoning. After all, how can you create as real a connection with somebody when you only ever interact with them at the other end of a phone line, Skype conference call, or Google Hangout?
The counter-argument is that this might be exactly right! Yes, it might not be possible to create the same sort of human connection as you do when you’re in the same room. But that shouldn’t necessarily mean you can’t create any connection with them at all. Nor does it mean that Out of Office work has other advantages that might – on balance – be more valuable.
There are some things you can do to increase connection in online collaboration, as the Harvard Business Review blog article, “How Virtual Teams Can Create Human Connections Despite Distance”, outlines:
- Setting ground rules for managing virtual communications
- Aligning personal and professional goals
- Strengthening relationships to enable the candour required for true collaboration
That’s just a summary of the points, and you can read the full article for the details.
Citrix Labs has just released the Cubefree iPhone app, which helps Out Of Office workers find libraries, cafes and co-working spaces with suitable workshifting amenities. The app also shows you other Cubefree users who are nearby, including those who might be part of your professional or social network.
Being a Citrix product, Cubefree integrates with other Citrix tools such as GotoMeeting, GotoWebinar, ShareFile, and Podio. The promotional video shown below provides an overview of the app.
Cubefree isn’t the first such app for finding workspaces – for a list of nine more see this blogpost. If you’ve used any of these apps or know of others then please tell us about it by leaving a comment.
Planning your workday is such an important task for Out Of Office workers that it’s usually the first thing we attend to when we start work each day. However, I’ve recently heard advice advocating planning your workday at the end of the previous workday. Mike Vardy lays out the benefits of adopting such an approach and how to implement it.
- Have a definite end time to your workday
- Capture action items from today
- Review your calendar
- Pick your top three tasks for tomorrow
You can read Mike’s article in full on the Workshifting blog.
I’ve recently adopted this approach into my ways of working. If you’ve done likewise then please let us know your experience by leaving a comment.
Most meetings are polite and orderly, but occasionally you might be chairing a meeting with hostile participants, conflicting agendas or a controversial topic. Learn how to manage these meetings so you can achieve the meeting’s objectives without losing your cool.
The most important thing is to be sure you don’t let your emotions get in the way of achieving your outcome. Ignore the power plays, put-downs and pettiness and focus on what you want. If you can keep your head when all about are losing theirs, everybody wins!
Of course, that’s easier said than done! I recently wrote a blog post for Citrix about this topic, addressing things you can do before the meeting, at the start of the meeting, and during the meeting itself.
Many managers admit they don’t know how to manage and lead virtual teams effectively — particularly when it comes to trust, communication, managing deadlines, and achieving consensus in decision-making. Even worse, there are some common myths about virtual teams, which can cause friction within the team or even seriously damage its performance. In this episode, we address these myths and offer suggestions and advice for how managers and leaders can overcome them.
Listen to the episode here:
The five myths:
- Myth #1: It’s too difficult to build trust
Reality: It’s not more difficult; it’s just different.
- Myth #2: It’s too difficult to build synergy
Reality: Synergy is intentional, not incidental.
- Myth #3: Team members feel too isolated and detached
Reality: Some personalities thrive under remote work arrangements.
- Myth #4: Interpersonal skills aren’t important
Reality: If anything, interpersonal skills are even more important.
- Myth #5: You can’t measure and reward performance
Reality: Sometimes you can do it even better.
Download the white paper, written by Gihan Perera for Citrix, on this topic (available here courtesy of Citrix Online):
Digital Nomad, Dragos Roua, lists his five fundamental rules for working from home.
- Setup a specific workspace
- Split work into edible chunks
- Work outside home
- Go out
- Thoroughly log each day
We advocate several of these ideas in our book, and have come to appreciate the benefits of the others since publication. It’s well worth reading Dragos’ article in full at Lifehack.
There’s no question that working from home is growing in popularity, and obviously we’re big fans of it. Here’s an interesting infographic showing some statistics about how fast it’s growing:
As the Out of Office trend continues, more authors have been writing about this lifestyle. In this episode, we review three other books in this area and compare them to our book.
Listen to the episode here:
The Three Books
Working from home gives you great flexibility, but also forces you to create your own systems, processes, and discipline. This can be a challenge for some people, especially because everybody is different. So there’s no one-size-fits-all system you can pull off a shelf and apply to your circumstances.
But this Lifehack checklist 31 Simple Ways to Maximize Efficiency in Your Home Office is a useful starting point. Look through this list and borrow what works for you when setting up your own system.