Out of Office

Creating Connected Distributed Teams

Often, people in distributed teams don’t have the same personal connections with remote team members as they have with people in the same office. This is natural, of course, but can be overcome. Creating better personal connections leads to more rewarding work, better collaboration, and higher productivity.

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Video: The Pomodoro Technique

We’re big fans of time-management systems such as the Pomodoro Technique. At their core these techniques involve repeated cycles of focussed work sessions followed by a rest break. This helps boost productivity and avoid fatigue. But there’s even more to it as you’ll see when you watch the promotional video below.

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Location Independence, by Paul Truant

Location independence is the idea – becoming more and more common – that you can live and work from anywhere, without being confined to a fixed office. This book is an overview of what it takes to set up such a lifestyle.

Location independence has two parts: physical freedom (which is now possible because of the Internet) and mental freedom. Truant starts by tackling the mental aspect – including the mindset you need. The book is broadly based on the idea of “geoarbitrage”, which put simply just means that you can live in countries with a lower cost of living, while earning money from customers outside that country. In other words, your money goes further. This can be a very effective lifestyle, provided you’re open to the idea of living elsewhere and embracing other cultures.

Because of this central idea of travel, most of the book describes what it takes to plan for moving to another country, but from the viewpoint of a location independent worker rather than a holidaymaker.

If you’re interested in pursuing this sort of lifestyle, this book would be an excellent starting point.

Buy the book from Amazon.com.

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Jay Meistrich: How I Built a Startup While Traveling to 20 Countries

Watch the video below to learn about Jay Meistrich, a Digital Nomad who launched a tech startup while travelling to 20 countries. Jay lists four key lessons about his Digital Nomad work-style:

  • Travelling is cheaper than staying at home
  • Travelling makes me more productive
  • Nine to five is not optimal
  • Travelling expands my cultural bubble

You can read Jay’s article in full on Entrepreneur.com.

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Our Out of Office Stories

Gihan and Chris have 30+ combined years of experience working Out of Office. In this episode, they share their journeys, including successes and failures along the way.

Listen to the episode here:

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Seven Reasons Trust, Pride and Camaraderie Are on the Rise

I’ve just read an interesting article on the dawn of the Great Workplace Era. Research by the Great Place to Work Institute reveals that the best workplaces around the world are getting better, that is, there is growth in the extent to which employees trust their leaders, take pride in their job and enjoy their colleagues. The researchers cite seven reasons for this trend:

  • increased awareness among company leaders globally of the importance of a great, high-trust workplace culture
  • mounting evidence that great workplaces lead to better business results
  • millennials are demanding better workplaces
  • the emergence of a well-being movement is nudging organisations to improve their cultures
  • once an organisation develops a positive workplace culture, that culture tends to continue getting better
  • innovation has come to be the lifeblood for many businesses, especially those operating in global, competitive markets
  • technologies such as social media and mobile, personal devices that can easily record images and audio are providing unprecedented transparency into organisations

Read more at Workforce.com.

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Managing a virtual team: productivity and performance

More than half of Australian small businesses offer at least the ability for employees to work away from the office. Whether you do or not, Dynamic Business magazine offers some tips for making this work more effective – for performance, productivity, and a win-win situation for everybody:

  • Lead from the front: Model this behaviour yourself, especially with use of collaboration technology and other similar tools
  • Build a reciprocal environment of trust: Use technology to build and maintain trust in the team
  • Provide location-based productivity tools: Invest in the right work environment and tools for your team

Read the full article here.

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Five Essentials for an Effective Flexible Work Policy

Out of Office work styles form part of a range of flexible work options employers can offer to help recruit and retain valuable employees. If you’re planning to offer flexible work options then it’s critical that you develop a coherent policy that provides guidelines for managing flexible work and encourages employees to use the policy to manage their own personal and work obligations.

Cynthia Calvert lists five essential elements that should be part of all flexible work policies:

  • Designed by the organisation
  • Allows employees to create schedules that fit their needs
  • Reflects support of top management
  • Provides all necessary information and fair terms
  • Implemented strategically

Read the article in full here.

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Coworking Could be an Option for Your Out of Office Work

Some (but not all) Out of Office workers struggle with the isolation and independence of working from home, without other people around them. There are many options to address this issue, and one of them is to use a “coworking space”, where many people come together to share a working space, without necessarily working together. In other words, they just share the physical space, but work independently.

Coworking is gaining popularity among business owners and entrepreneurs, who like the idea of a space where they can work independently but still have stimulating conversations with other like-minded people. But it’s also a feasible option for employees who work Out of Office, who like to work with others.

If you’re interested in this for your own work, this article “Coworking connects entrepreneurs through shared office spaces” introduces some of the basic ideas about coworking.

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Practical Tips for Engaging Out Of Office Workers

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

Read more…

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