Out of Office

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20 Best Free Apps For Mobile Entrepreneurs

Mobile appsMore and more work is done on the road, either on business trips or as part of the life of a Digital Nomad. Of course, the growth of mobile technology helps enormously in allowing you to be productive when you’re away from the office.

What apps do you use regularly to stay productive on the road? My favourites include Dropbox, Evernote, and the Google suite of products (Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Drive and Maps).

Here are some more suggested by Mike Michalowicz.

The Birth of Bring Your Own Office (BYOO)

Bring your own officeYou might have heard of “BYOD”, or Bring Your Own Device – the idea that employees increasingly want to use their personal computing devices (phones, tablets and laptops) for their professional work. But what about BYOO – or Bring Your Own Office? Caleb Parker makes the case that this could be the next big technology workplace trend.

The idea is simple, and it’s very similar to our Out of Office idea. It’s one thing to bring your own device to the office, but that still assumes you’re going to an office. But people want to work from anywhere, and they no longer have to go to a traditional office at all. Hence … Bring Your Own Office!

This is exactly the scenario that faces the E-Worker, or full-time telecommuter. It also applies to freelancers, outsourced workers and sometimes to remotely distributed teams as well. It’s an area that is only growing, so be prepared for BYOO to come to your workplace soon!

On The Road (Warrior) Again

Mitch Joel, author of the Twist Image blog, has a number of tips for working on the road. These are useful for employees and digital nomads alike. Here’s a summary:

  • Always have an extra charger for everything.
  • Keep your devices as fully charged at all times as possible.
  • Ditch the briefcase, and get a nice looking knapsack or backpack.
  • Take all of your cables, chargers, headphones, adapters, USB memory sticks, dongles and more and store them in one bag.
  • Save it to the cloud.
  • Block out the world with a good pair of in-ear headphones
  • Being your own extension cord.

Videoconferencing

VideoconferencingVideoconferencing has come of age, and it’s now a feasible, attractive and sometimes even preferable option for bringing people together. Let’s look at the pros and cons, tools and principles for making it work.

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BYOD: Bring Your Own Disaster … err, Device

Bring Your Own DeviceAs personal mobile devices continue to grow in popularity, organisations are grappling with the issue of how to allow employees to use them in the workplace. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) debate continues to rage. In this episode we present pros and cons, and then look at 10 principles for facilitating BYOD in your workplace.

Listen to the episode here:

Download the MP3 file here

Subscribe to the podcast

Buy the book here (available at a reduced price for a limited time).

Reference material and further reading:

Cloud-Based Tools

Cloud-based toolsPreviously, we’ve talked about the principles of Cloud Computing. Now let’s look at some of the Cloud-based tools we use.

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Five Virtual Conferencing Tools for the Out-of-Office Worker

One of the issues that managers most often cite in their resistance to allowing their workers to telecommute is the need to attend meetings. Managers want to make sure that all employees can meet when needed to share ideas, update each other on important projects, and to discuss other important company business.

However, working from home does not preclude being able to attend meetings with co-workers or to collaborate with them. There are many great virtual conferencing tools that can make meetings possible, no matter where each of the participants is located. Here are five virtual conferencing tools you should consider using as an at-home worker:

Skype
Skype is one of the most popular video conferencing tools because it is so simple and it’s free. You can use it to make calls to other computers or phones, using just a headset with a microphone. You can use it to make video calls to other computers, helping you to have face-to-face conversations. Skype is a simple service that allows virtual conferencing, but it does not include features for virtual presentations. You would have to share files or links in order to look at the same thing on your screen during discussions with co-workers.

Watchitoo
Watchitoo allows you to bring together multimedia presentations and video conferencing. This means that you can all follow along with a presentation or watch video together while you are conducting your virtual conference call. The service supports screen sharing, the use of white boards, multiple video feeds and more. You can also record your session and generate a post-meeting report. The service is free for up to five people, or you can pay $39 a month for up to 25 people.

Blackboard
Formerly Elluminate, Blackboard is an online collaboration platform that focuses on enabling you to create virtual classrooms. This is an especially useful tool if you need to conduct or attend online training. In addition to video conferencing, it has an interactive whiteboard, breakout rooms and desktop sharing. Pricing depends on what kind of licensing you need, and you have to call for a quote.

Infinite
Infinite specializes in solutions for non-profits, but any business or home worker can benefit from its services. However, if you do work for a non-profit, you’ll qualify for a discount. You can use it for phone and web conferencing, webinars and webcasting. The service is entirely web-based, so you won’t have to download any software. You can decide to be billed by usage or sign up for a plan.

GoToWebinar
GoToWebinar offers solutions for webinars, which can be used to make presentations, host online meetings, make pitches and much more. It allows for desktop sharing, text chat, teleconferencing and more. The service provides web-based conferencing, so you don’t have to download anything. You can record sessions and create polls and surveys. Plans start at $49 per month.

With these virtual conferencing tools, you can attend meetings with your co-workers no matter where you are conducting business. You’ll stay in the loop so it’s like you’re working from the office even when you’re not.

What tools do you use to meet with your boss and co-workers?

Bio:
Amber Satka writes on financial topics, and her research can be read at her auto loan calculator app site. Amber is a former office manager and current mother and writer.

MOOCs: E-Learning For Out of Office Workers

GraduatesWhereas office workers might be sent on courses or receive on-site training, Out of Office workers are often responsible for their own professional education. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are to education what OOO is to work; they allow you to time-shift and place-shift your learning. In this episode, Chris shares his experience with doing an online course using popular course provider Coursera.

Listen to the episode here:

Download the MP3 file here

Buy the book here (available at a reduced price for a limited time).

References:

Four Alternatives to Google Reader

One of the productivity tips we offer in the At Your Convenience chapter of the book is to subscribe to the Web Feeds of your favourite blogs and Web sites. We also recommend using Google Reader to do this. Unfortunately, Google recently announced that they will be retiring Reader on July 1, 2013.

So, if like us, you use Google Reader then you’ll need to move your feed subscriptions to another tool. Google provides advice on how to export your feed subscriptions using the Google Takeaway service. If you’ve not done this already, then now is a good time. It’s quick and easy.

As for choosing an alternative tool for consuming Web feeds, there are many choices. Slashdot recently published a list of four popular alternatives to Google Reader:

For what it’s worth, I’ve migrated to Feedly. My reasons for doing so are as follows:

  • I can run it on my desktop PC using the Feedly plug-in for Firefox
  • I can run it on my tablet or smart phone using the Feedly Android app
  • It can automatically import your Google Reader subscriptions

If you use a different Web feed reader then please leave a comment.

13 Meetings Technology Predictions for 2013

Whether you’re working in an office full-time or out of office, you’ll probably be attending a few conferences or events in a year. A lot has changed in meeting technology, and a lot of it is because of the same technology that underlies Out of Office technology.

Corbin Ball is one of the most respected experts in meetings and events technology, and he has made 13 predictions for 2013.

Read the full article here.

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