Archive for the ‘For Your Comfort’ Category
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
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.
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.
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.
In this episode, we look at the daily working lives of great artists, writers, philosophers, and other geniuses – and apply them to Out of Office work.
Listen to the episode here:
There are lots of productivity tools, and in this episode we share our personal favourites. Everybody is different, so you’ll have to discover what works best for you. But we hope that by seeing what we use, you’ll be able to adapt them for your own productivity needs.
Listen to the episode here:
Links and Resources
- Timer app on phone: Helps implement the Pomodoro Technique for doing work sprints.
- Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome: Better than IE and Safari because they have so many great extensions
- Gmail: Much easier to use than, say, Outlook, because it’s in the Cloud.
- Kindle: Easy to download samples; available across all my devices (via the Kindle app)
- Pocket (formerly Read It Later): Allows you to bookmark interesting content for reading later
- Buffer: Automate/schedule the publication of your tweets, posts and status updates on various social media platforms
- Dropbox: Perfect for sharing files across all devices
- Evernote: Similar to Dropbox, but better for tag, sorting and searching; it can also handle “snippets” better (e.g. photos, infographics, handdrawn notes)
- Google Drive: Started life as Google Docs, a Cloud-based productivity suite (word processor, spreadsheet, slide deck, etc.); now a Cloud-based file storage system
- GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts: Use these for audio/video conferencing. Includes screen sharing, one-click recording, and other useful collaboration features
- Skype: Use SkypeOut to call anybody anywhere; easier and more convenient than a landline
- LastPass: Password manager that has a really useful feature to share passwords securely with others
- Google Calendar / Tasks / Contacts: Google’s Cloud-based calendar, to do list and people list
Taking short regular breaks helps you stay fresh and focussed when working Out of Office. GotoPC recently asked workers to vote on their favourite ways of taking a break. The results are summarised in the infographic below.
In this episode, we share 25 simple but effective tips for improving your Out of Office work style – in the areas of productivity, e-mail, reducing interruptions, flexibility, and online meetings.
Listen to the episode here:
Buy the book here (available at a reduced price for a limited time).
Summary of the 25 tips:
Set up your workspace with productivity in mind:
- Have a dedicated office
- Make it easy to switch between workspaces
- Create good ergonomics
- Make it a place where you like to work
- Turn off alerts for non-urgent communication
- Conversely, allow important and urgent messages to get through
- Educate people about your work day
- Schedule work for quiet times
Manage your time:
- Use the Pomodoro Technique or Work Sprints
- Set priorities for the day
- Track your time
- Focus on outcomes and results, and keep promises you make to others
Handle email efficiently:
- Don’t use your inbox as your To Do list.
- Separate processing from responding
- Unsubscribe from irrelevant newsletters, notifications, and mailing lists
- Use sub-folders to organise incoming mail
Run better online meetings:
- Have a pre-meeting checklist
- Know what you want to get from the meeting
- “Arrive” early, and be ready to start on time
- Get comfortable with the technology
Be flexible, but in a smart way:
- Set aside dedicated time slots each week for certain things
- Establish a routine for the day
- Set weekly goals rather than daily goals
- Mix it up
- Try different things, and break all the rules!
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