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.
Keith Ferrazzi writes for the Harvard Business Review, that a recent survey of knowledge workers found that although 79% of respondents work permanently or frequently Out Of Office, only 44% found virtual communication as effective as face-to-face communication.
To close the gap Ferrazzi suggests moving virtual teams to a new set of behaviours:
- Set ground rules for managing virtual communications
- Align personal and professional goals
- Strengthen relationships to enable the candor required for true collaboration
Read Keith’s article in full at HBR.org.
If you’re managing a team that includes Semi-Commuters (part-time telecommuters), they might ask for permission to use their portable equipment (laptops, phones or tablets) in the workplace. This is known as “Bring Your Own Device”, or BYOD. It’s not unique to Out of Office work, of course, but it’s more common there for your part-time telecommuters.
This article “4 Ways Startups Can Leverage Employee-Owned Tech” considers some of the pros and cons of BYOD for your organisation. Although its title says it’s directed at startup companies, the ideas apply to everybody.
Every organisation is different, of course. So you’ll have to adapt these ideas to your own. As the article itself says:
“It’s important to note that the preferences and cultures of each company are different, so use your own needs as a guideline to developing a BYOD system that works for you.”
Mobile Work Exchange has listed four trends Out Of Office workers should look for in the coming year:
- Mobiles and Millennials: watch for the use of mobile apps and social media to recruit young, social-savvy talent
- Phablets: smartphone-tablet hybrids such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, Apple iPhone 6 and Google Nexus 6 will be sold in large numbers
- Guidance: on security, authentication, identity management, and related topics will top mobility agendas in 2015
- Mobile Apps: look for more tools and methodologies to keep deployment of mobile technologies growing strongly this year
Read the article in full on the Mobile Work Exchange blog.
Do you have any predictions for Out Of Office workers in 2015? If so, let us know by leaving a comment.
The old way of setting goals is to sit down every January and set your goals for the next 12 months. But that doesn’t work anymore because the world is changing so fast. This means goals quickly become irrelevant and it’s too easy to get sidetracked by other priorities. So, instead of setting 12-month goals, do 3-month or 90-day goals. This episode is based on a little book by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson about how to set and achieve goals.
Listen to the episode here: