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.
The University of Loughborough is conducting a study into the work-life balance of Out Of Office workers. Here’s their call to action:
There is little research into the work-life balance of people who work from home. The purpose of this study is to explore the factors that influence how people who work from home manage their work-life balance. I am seeking adults aged 18 or over who work from home (part-time, full-time or some of the time) to take part.
This survey consists of a set of questions about working from home, your preferences, and some demographic questions. It should take around 15 minutes to complete.
I took the survey – it’s a set of multiple-choice questions. If you’d like to contribute then visit the survey’s home page.
Despite the explosive growth of cloud computing, few organisations are using it effectively for collaboration, especially with their Out of Office workers. In this episode, we share some practical tools to foster online collaboration.
Listen to the episode here:
Research and Notes
Calendars and Appointments
- Podio (replacement for internal e-mail)
- Online meeting tools: Skype, Google Hangout, GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining, WebEx, MS-Lync
- Support for online meetings: Bubbl.us (mind mapping), Padlet.com (bulletin board)
- Online Forums: Yammer (like a private Facebook group for business), Ning (like private Facebook)
- Basecamp.com (project management)
- Support ticket systems like Bugzilla, Trac, JIRA
One of my clients, Garth Roberts, posted this picture to Facebook earlier this year:
He said it was so successful that he’s planning to do it again every quarter. And he’s inspired me to go away for a similar trip (not as far as Banff, though!) to do some solid writing on my next book.
What can you do to get into the right mindset for something important? This is one of the big benefits of the Out of Office work style. So create the opportunity if you can!