Out of Office

Archive for the ‘Taking Action’ Category

5 Ways Telecommuting Saves Employers Money

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:

  1. Increased productivity
  2. Lower overhead
  3. Higher retention rates
  4. Fewer sick days
  5. Decreased travel costs

For details of each of these items, read the full article here.

7 Out Of Office Resolutions For 2015

7 Out Of Office Resolutions For 2015Start 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:

  1. 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).

  2. 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.
  3. Stop Distractions and Interruptions: Set up your workspace in such a way as to minimise the potential for interruptions and distractions.
  4. 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.
  5. Continue to use the Cloud: Focus on two key themes: personal productivity and collaboration.
  6. 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.
  7. Always Keep Learning: Start from our Web site OutOfOfficeBook.com for the book, blog, articles and past podcast episodes.

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently 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:

Switched Off

Switched OffOut of Office workers are used to being connected and online most of the time. But there might be times when you want to “switch off” and be offline for an extended period. In this episode, we look at how to prepare for it, do it, and follow up effectively.

Listen to the episode here:

Plan for Tomorrow, Today

Planning your workday is such an important task for Out Of Office workers that it’s usually the first thing we attend to when we start work each day. However, I’ve recently heard advice advocating planning your workday at the end of the previous workday. Mike Vardy lays out the benefits of adopting such an approach and how to implement it.

  • Have a definite end time to your workday
  • Capture action items from today
  • Review your calendar
  • Pick your top three tasks for tomorrow

You can read Mike’s article in full on the Workshifting blog.

I’ve recently adopted this approach into my ways of working. If you’ve done likewise then please let us know your experience by leaving a comment.

Three Other Out of Office Books

Three Out of Office BooksAs the Out of Office trend continues, more authors have been writing about this lifestyle. In this episode, we review three other books in this area and compare them to our book.

Listen to the episode here:

The Three Books

A Study into the Work-Life Balance of Homeworkers

The University of Loughborough is conducting a study into the work-life balance of Out Of Office workers. Here’s their call to action:

There is little research into the work-life balance of people who work from home. The purpose of this study is to explore the factors that influence how people who work from home manage their work-life balance. I am seeking adults aged 18 or over who work from home (part-time, full-time or some of the time) to take part.

This survey consists of a set of questions about working from home, your preferences, and some demographic questions. It should take around 15 minutes to complete.

I took the survey – it’s a set of multiple-choice questions. If you’d like to contribute then visit the survey’s home page.

Remote – by Jason Fried

RemoteThe first chapter of this book is titled “The Time is Right for Remote Work”, and that’s a neat summary. In the book, Fried lays out the argument for greater acceptance and adoption of remote work.

I co-authored the book Out of Office on the same topic, so it won’t come as a surprise that I like this book as well! I particularly like the way it’s laid out, with short bite-sized chunks for each point. It’s almost like a collection of blog posts, but organised well rather than just randomly strung together.

Be warned that if you’re already doing remote work and are looking for practical ideas, this book is a bit light on the practical stuff. But if you’re thinking about the possibility of remote work in your organisation, teams or career, this is the perfect book to motivate you.

Buy the book from Amazon.com.

4 reasons to say no to telecommuting

Although we are big fans of the Out of Office work style, there might be good reasons why it’s not right for everybody. In the blog post 4 reasons to say no to telecommuting, Amy Levin-Epstein lists four possible reasons:

  1. Your company isn’t set up for it.
  2. You don’t like working alone.
  3. You don’t communicate well virtually.
  4. You’re not self-motivated.

These are all legitimate reasons, but if you’re determined to be a telecommuter, they aren’t insurmountable problems. You might have to do some work on yourself to improve your skills for telecommuting, and it’s a matter of weighing this up against the benefits.

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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