Out of Office

Archive for the ‘Semi-Commuter’ Category

5 Ways BYOD Can Increase Productivity

Many organisations struggle with letting employees bringing their devices into the workplace. Full-time Out of Office workers don’t have this problem, but it does affect Semi-Commuters (who work from the office some of the time) and even full-time telecommuters who drop in from time to time. As Fred Mouawad points out, BYOD has its advantages:

  • Key to Work-Life Integration
  • A Step Toward Co-Entrepreneurship
  • Attracting and Retaining Creative Talent
  • Emergence of Wearable Technology
  • Reduction in Operating Expenses

Read the full article here.

New Tools for Out of Office Workers

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:




  • 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:

  • Zapier: Automate actions based on triggers
  • LinkedIn Pulse: Publish articles directly to LinkedIn
  • ContentGems: Serve up relevant articles in your area of interest

How To Work When Your Team Is Scattered Across Time Zones

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.

Read the full article here.

How 5 Remote Teams Use Technology To Make Long Distance Work

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:

  1. Buffer Uses HipChat And Jawbone – for informal online chat
  2. AgoraPulse Uses Weekdone – to track progress and see status reports
  3. Zapier Uses Campfire And Sqwiggle – for group chat
  4. Foursquare Uses Always-On Video Conferencing
  5. iDoneThis Uses iDoneThis – for productivity tracking

Read the full article here.

How to Manage a Hostile Meeting

How to Manage a Hostile MeetingMost meetings are polite and orderly, but occasionally you might be chairing a meeting with hostile participants, conflicting agendas or a controversial topic. Learn how to manage these meetings so you can achieve the meeting’s objectives without losing your cool.

The most important thing is to be sure you don’t let your emotions get in the way of achieving your outcome. Ignore the power plays, put-downs and pettiness and focus on what you want. If you can keep your head when all about are losing theirs, everybody wins!

Of course, that’s easier said than done! I recently wrote a blog post for Citrix about this topic, addressing things you can do before the meeting, at the start of the meeting, and during the meeting itself.

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Working From Home – Is It The Future?

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 -- Is It The Future? by Staff.com
Staff.com – Connecting Great Companies with Global Talent

31 Simple Ways to Maximize Efficiency in Your Home Office

Maximize Efficiency in Your Home OfficeWorking 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.

The Daily Routines of Out-Of-Office Geniuses

The Daily Habits of GeniusesIn 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:

Read the Harvard Business Review article, The Daily Routines of Geniuses, which we mention in this episode. That in turn is based on Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.

Five Steps to Better Collaboration with Online Meetings

Resolve to Collaborate Easier in 2014Collaboration is the key to business success, but if you find yourself wishing for the “good old days” when everybody in your team was based in the same office and your meetings took place in front of a white board, you’ve fallen behind the times. Surprisingly enough, online collaboration is often faster, smoother and more productive than in-person collaboration.

Here are five ways to elevate your team’s collaboration and leverage the advantages of virtual meetings:

  1. Get the right people on board.
  2. Include your virtual team members in the team.
  3. Stop making decisions via email.
  4. Meet face to face to save time and money.
  5. Share ideas and insights with other teams.

That’s a summary from a blog post I wrote recently for Citrix, a leader in collaboration technology. For details, read the full post.

The Power of Habit – by Charles Duhigg

The Power Of HabitThis fascinating book combines three of my favourite elements: Practical ideas, backed by strong research, relayed by powerful stories.

Duhigg’s one big idea in the book is that our habits can be broken down into three factors: A cue that triggers the habit, a routine that we subconsciously follow, and a reward that motivates us. He contends that we can’t eliminate a bad habit, but we can change it by inserting a new routine between the cue and the reward. That’s a deceptively simple, but very powerful, idea.

Duhigg also describes the power of “keystone habits”, which can trigger many other habit changes. For example, for many people, getting fitter is a keystone habit, which leads to them adopting other unrelated positive habits as well.

If you’re looking for practical steps to change your habits, jump straight to the Appendix, which is a “how to” of the entire process.

I love that the book is backed by strong scientific research (the references take up a full third of the book). But Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, so his writing is compelling and entertaining rather than dry and academic.

Buy the book from Amazon.com.

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