Employee engagement is important regardless of whether your employees are co-located or working Out Of Office. However, the management practices needed to engender employee engagement can be quite different for these two groups of workers. SkilledUp.com suggests four tips for engaging Out Of Office employees:
- Communicate often and effectively, and not always about work-related issues
- Make sure to meet face-to-face, at least occasionally
- Remember to invite remote workers to important virtual meetings
- Recognise the accomplishments of remote workers
One of the biggest challenges to Out of Office work happens right at the start, when you’re making the transition to it. Learn how to manage yourself, your manager and your colleagues to make the transition smoother and more productive.
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When setting up an Out Of Office workspace we suggest choosing a dedicated space, preferably a separate room (with a door). We explain the reasons for doing so in the book.
However, not everyone has the luxury of a spare room they can re-purpose as a home office. Fortunately, Kerrie Kelly comes to the rescue with some clever alternatives to a single-purpose home office:
- Hide it in a closet
- Hide it in plain sight
- Shelve it
- Consider the kitchen
- Utilize the utility room
You can read Kerrie’s home office suggestions in detail on the Workshifting blog.
Tell us about your Out Of Office workspace by leaving a comment below.
Most of the discussion about Out of Office work focusses on individuals and their teams. It’s rare that the Out of Office conversation encompasses the entire way of doing business, but there are reasons why that might be a conversation worth having.
Douglas Wendt, the CEO of consulting business Wendt Partners, did exactly that, transforming his business from a traditional style to a more Out of Office style. He says:
“We had to change how we did business and become more flexible in every way. In other words, embracing flexible work led us to become a better company. If we had stayed with a traditional work model, we would have stayed with a traditional business model — and neither would have been the right move. This is, in my experience, the true benefit of workshifting for the CEO: It allows you to create a more dynamic, responsive, market-focused company by attracting and supporting a more dynamic, responsive, market-focused workforce.”
This is an extract from a thoughtful article he wrote about the way he transformed the business – and why he thinks it’s essential now to at least consider it seriously.
Out of Office work helps both employees and their managers, but the benefits are not always obvious. In fact, some employers only see it as a perk for employees, and they are willing to do it to increase engagement, but believe it’s a cost to their organisation. But that doesn’t have to be the case, as the Dynamic Business article “How to make virtual work a win-win”, explains. The article lists a number of things to make this a win-win proposition:
- Effective team management. Can managers effectively manage their teams wherever they are?
- Formal guidelines. Does the company have formal guidelines in place to help managers/employees evaluate the selection process or is it offered on an ad hoc basis?
- High performance in a virtual world. Has the organisation assessed which roles/employees are able to deliver high performance in a virtual environment?
- Driving collaboration and innovation. How does our organisation drive collaboration and innovation and what tools do we have to encourage collaboration for those working virtually?
- Impact on retention. How could employee engagement and retention be impacted by a discontinuation of virtual work?
Telecommuting and other Out of Office work continue to grow in popularity (51% of employed Australians are telecommuters, according to ACMA), but there’s still some resistance in some organisations. We address some of the most common objections here.
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While many studies show that Out Of Office workers are happier and more productive than their office-bound counterparts, it’s not all a bed of roses. One downside is that some Out Of Office workers feel they should take on additional work because of their more flexible work style. Crystal McCullough lists five ways Out Of Office workers can avoid this kind of problem:
- Have realistic expectations and plans
- Don’t feel guilty about taking time off
- Minimise distractions
- Don’t fire the nanny
- Avoid working out of hours
Read Crystal’s article in full on the Citrix GotoMeeting blog.
How do you manage your Out Of Office work-life balance? Let us know by leaving a comment.
One of the biggest advantages of telecommuting is that employers and employees both save money. The most obvious of these savings is in the hard costs of office space, equipment, petrol, car maintenance, and so on. But the article “5 Ways Telecommuting Saves Employers Money” suggests some other savings as well:
- Increased productivity
- Lower overhead
- Higher retention rates
- Fewer sick days
- Decreased travel costs
For details of each of these items, read the full article here.
Andrei Soroker owns a small IT business whose staff work Out Of Office. Andrei identifies four reasons why working Out Of Office is good for employees and employers alike:
- Faster growth
- Resource allocation
- Efficient communication
- Enhanced work hours
Read Andrei’s article in full at Entrepreneur.com.
Start the year by resolving to start, stop and continue these habits, which are mostly for Out of Office workers but really apply to almost everybody.
Listen to the episode here:
Here’s a summary of the 7 resolutions:
- Start Using The Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique is one of several methods for helping you focus on work without being distracted or interrupted. The core of these approaches involves repeated cycles of
working intensely for a period of time (25 minutes in Pomodoro Technique) followed by a short break (5 minutes).
- Start 90-Day Projects: Compress your annual goals into 90-day projects: it’s easier to look ahead just 90 days, easier to get feedback along the way, and less chance of moving goalposts.
- Stop Distractions and Interruptions: Set up your workspace in such a way as to minimise the potential for interruptions and distractions.
- Get to Inbox Zero! Clear out your inbox now (while still keeping important messages for later processing), and then build the habit of always clearing it out every time you check it.
- Continue to use the Cloud: Focus on two key themes: personal productivity and collaboration.
- Continue Building Your Profile: It’s easy to be forgotten or ignored because you’re “out of sight, out of mind”. Take responsibility for your own career development.
- Always Keep Learning: Start from our Web site OutOfOfficeBook.com for the book, blog, articles and past podcast episodes.