Archive for the ‘E-Worker’ Category
One of the challenges with a distributed team is that different people might be in different time zones. As we become increasingly global and mobile, that is only going to be more common, so it’s useful to know how to manage this situation.
A recent Fast Company tackled this issue, giving advice like this – particularly for online meetings:
- Declare a “home” time zone, with normal business hours in that time zone – but of course with enough overlap for all your team members in other time zones.
- Minimise the use of videoconferencing, because it inconveniences people who have to attend outside normal hours.
- Minimise the need for follow-up after meetings, because that can cause delays for people in multiple time zones.
Out of Office work, although on the rise, is still relatively new, and there are no agreed best practices on how to make it work most effectively. However, there are a number of case studies and examples we can learn from, and adapt their ideas to your own situation.
Fast Company recently published an article with five such examples:
- Buffer Uses HipChat And Jawbone – for informal online chat
- AgoraPulse Uses Weekdone – to track progress and see status reports
- Zapier Uses Campfire And Sqwiggle – for group chat
- Foursquare Uses Always-On Video Conferencing
- iDoneThis Uses iDoneThis – for productivity tracking
Building a remote team – with both in-office and Out of Office team members – isn’t easy, so it’s useful to learn from people who have done it before. In this video, Poornima Vijayashanker, the founder of Femgineer, interviews Ben Congleton, CEO of Olark, about his experience in taking his in-office team and extending it to be a remote team.
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.
Listen to the episode here:
- Read the Harvard Business Review article How Virtual Teams Can Create Human Connections Despite Distance
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.
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.
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.
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):
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:
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.
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