Archive for the ‘E-Worker’ Category
Working from home is the most common method of working away from an office, but it’s not the only option. In this episode, we consider four different workspaces for Out of Office workers: the home office, public places like cafes and clubs, co-working spaces, and on the road.
Listen to the episode here:
Working Out Of Office means taking responsibility for many aspects of your working life, including staying healthy. There is mounting evidence that the sedentary lifestyle associated with desk work has a serious, negative impact on health. This can be exacerbated if you work Out Of Office because you are less likely to get up from your desk to go to a meeting room or visit a colleague. So, it’s particularly important for Out Of Office workers to make a conscious effort to incorporate healthy behaviours into their work routines.
Physician Natasha Withers lists 12 tips for staying healthy while working Out Of Office:
- Setup a separate workspace
- Choose a good chair
- Or ditch your chair altogether
- Get up every hour and get out at least once a day
- Set a schedule and stick to it
- Schedule workouts
- Schedule active meetings
- Create a soothing environment
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance by logging your time and setting limits
- Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meals
- Get showered and dressed as if you’re going to the office
- Get involved in a virtual telecommuter community
Although Out of Office work is attractive, it’s not always easy – especially when you’re just starting out. In this blog post, Melissa Hincha-Ownby discusses five challenges she faced as a telecommuter, and how she overcame them.
As Out Of Office workers we have a high degree of control over how our workspaces are set up. So, if you want to further improve your productivity beyond the high levels you already enjoy then you might consider investing in an indoor plant or two and shifting your desk close to a window.
According to a report by the World Green Buildings Council (WGBC) workers with access to natural light enjoy better sleep, better quality-of-life scores and higher productivity. Also having an expansive view was found to relieve stress and promote creativity. And “biophilia” – our affinity for living things – helps relieve stress, improve cognitive function and promote creativity.
Now, I’m not sure how much of the correlation reported by the WGBC is causal but at the very least creating a pleasant, natural workspace has got to be worthwhile. And if your opportunities for accessing natural light and biophilia in your home office are limited, well, you can always grab your smartphone and laptop and head for the nearest park.
If you’ve created a green workspace we’d love to hear from you. Please let us know your experience by leaving a comment.
If you’re working in a distributed team, you might already know about some of the more common tools and apps, such as Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Skype, Buffer, and Hootsuite. These are all wonderful tools, but there are also a whole host of other tools available. We’re going to share some of them today, so you know about them and can consider whether it’s worth integrating them into your workplace.
Listen to the episode here:
- HiTask: A task management tool
- Trello: A workflow management tool
- Gmail Streak: A basic CRM integrated with Gmail
- HipChat: A chatroom application designed to help teams collaborate
- Slack: Competitor to HipChat, with many of the same features
- Sqwiggle: A simple chatroom aimed at distributed teams
- IDoneThis: A simple tool for teams to share what they’ve achieved each day
Connecting with the world:
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.
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