“The future of work” is becoming a more common phrase now, as organisations try to predict how their workplaces will change in the near future. Clearly, Out of Office work is one of the biggest changes, and it affects other areas of work as well.
A recent article, The Future Of Work Is Here: Are Your Managers Prepared? lists five trends for leaders and managers:
- The Positive Impacts of Remote Work
- Technology’s Impact on Productivity
- Big Data
- Changes to Organizational Structures
- Inclusive Leadership
We now have so many ways to collaborate – faster, more efficiently, and with more people. But is collaboration always such a good thing? Too much of it can lead to collaborative overload, which stifles decision-making, puts pressure on key people in your team, and defeats the purpose of having a smart, diverse, team.
Listen to the episode here:
“How do you manage someone you’ve never met in person? And how do you gain loyalty from somebody who works for you 10 hours a week?”
These are two of the intriguing questions Justin Crawford asks in his article 4 Tips For Leading Teams Of Freelancers. The article is aimed at leaders and managers who outsource work, but it applies equally if you have telecommuters and other Out of Office workers in your team.
It only offers four pieces of advice, but they are valuable to any manager faced with this situation for the first time.
One of the most obvious and immediate benefits of working Out Of Office is that it eliminates commuting. This can be particularly beneficial for working women. Several studies have shown that commuting limits and stresses women more than it does men, primarily because women usually take on a greater share of household tasks. This article summarizes the issue:
Commuting, for women, gets added to an already heavy workload that often includes child care and the majority of day-to-day household tasks
Eliminating or reducing the daily commute helps alleviate the problem. Or you could share household tasks more equitably.
In the past, the most common development choice was a training course, but now there are many other options. And, of course, Out of Office workers aren’t always able to come in to the office for training courses with the rest of the team.
Besides, the traditional training course isn’t always the best option anyway, even if it’s easy to do. By tapping into a variety of ways to accelerate learning in your organisation, you cater to individual needs, build on existing knowledge, and create exponential learning.
I covered this topic recently in a webinar, which will help you go beyond the traditional training course as a tool for learning and development.
The Future Proof Webinar Series
This is a webinar from my Future Proof webinar series, which will keep you in touch with our future – what’s ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.
The video below showcases a company who switched to a five-hour workday, and in so doing, increased workplace productivity and the work-life balance of its employees.
This article explains the benefits of a five-hour workday, including:
Putting time constraints on the workday forces workers to look at their jobs differently, to see where they can be more productive. At Tower, everyone in the company actively analyzes what they’re doing right—and what they’re doing wrong—in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
You can find out more in The Five Hour Workday book by Stephan Aarstol, the CEO of Tower Paddle Boards.
By definition, an Out of Office team has some or all of its members working remotely – and that raises important communication challenges. You might think you’re good at communicating remotely, but are you really? The article Five Keys to Communicating Remotely suggests five techniques to improve your communication with remote team members.
- Choose your tool wisely.
- Focus on the message received.
- Listen more carefully.
- Think about more than your message.
- Be more intentional.
We frequently espouse the idea that offering flexible work arrangements such as working Out Of Office helps you recruit and retain the best staff. Andrea Duke has written an article that examines this idea, and concludes:
So, when it comes to recruiting and retaining top-tier talent, throw out that laundry list of “unique” benefits and opt for those that will have a significant impact on your employees and their ability to maintain a work-life balance.
We talk a lot about how to make out of office work effective. But there are still benefits to meeting in person – even if it only happens occasionally. In this episode, we look at various scenarios for in-person meetings, as well as their pros and cons.
Listen to the episode here:
One of the great things about working Out Of Office is that you can work from almost anywhere, including the great outdoors. Jennifer Parris suggests five ways you can be productive when you’re outdoors:
- Being away from your desk can be a great way to clear your mind so you can focus a single issue
- Similarly, uncluttering your thoughts can lead to inspirational ideas
- When inspiration strikes, record your thoughts on your smartphone
- Maintain connectivity to the Internet by setting up your smartphone as a mobile hotspot
- Catch up on the latest news and developments by listening to podcasts by leaders in your area of expertise
I’d add that simply relaxing and enjoying the outdoors is a great way to recharge, and in so doing, avoid the fatigue that can sap productivity.