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With the rising popularity of Out Of Office work, some enterprising gym and health club operators are expanding their lounges to provide members with co-working spaces. Club operators had noticed many of their members hanging out at the gym after a workout, using the lounge WiFi to get work done. So they decided to tap into this by offering more accommodating facilities for Out Of Office work. This is great for workers as it provides them with another venue for Out Of Office work, and it’s great for gym and health club operators because people who spend more time at the club also spend more money there.
Read the full WSJ article.
What do you think? Would you enjoy doing your work at the gym? Have youc ome across any innovative co-working spaces? Please let us know in the comments below…
Many remote workers thrive on the solitude that comes with an Out Of Office work style but just as many struggle with the isolation and loneliness. Digital Nomad, Walter Chen shares three suggestions on how to avoid the loneliness of Out Of Office work:
- Consider “timezone syncing” so there is some overlap between your working hours and those of your colleagues. Use this overlap to communicate with your team.
- Be radically transparent with teammates to strengthen feelings of connection with your colleagues.
- Overcommunicate your appreciation of work well done to improve happiness and productivity in your team.
Out of Office work styles form part of a range of flexible work options employers can offer to help recruit and retain valuable employees. If you’re planning to offer flexible work options then it’s critical that you develop a coherent policy that provides guidelines for managing flexible work and encourages employees to use the policy to manage their own personal and work obligations.
Cynthia Calvert lists five essential elements that should be part of all flexible work policies:
- Designed by the organisation
- Allows employees to create schedules that fit their needs
- Reflects support of top management
- Provides all necessary information and fair terms
- Implemented strategically
Read the article in full here.
Employee engagement is important regardless of whether your employees are co-located or working Out Of Office. However, the management practices needed to engender employee engagement can be quite different for these two groups of workers. SkilledUp.com suggests four tips for engaging Out Of Office employees:
- Communicate often and effectively, and not always about work-related issues
- Make sure to meet face-to-face, at least occasionally
- Remember to invite remote workers to important virtual meetings
- Recognise the accomplishments of remote workers
Keith Ferrazzi writes for the Harvard Business Review, that a recent survey of knowledge workers found that although 79% of respondents work permanently or frequently Out Of Office, only 44% found virtual communication as effective as face-to-face communication.
To close the gap Ferrazzi suggests moving virtual teams to a new set of behaviours:
- Set ground rules for managing virtual communications
- Align personal and professional goals
- Strengthen relationships to enable the candor required for true collaboration
Read Keith’s article in full at HBR.org.
Most Australian employees are Out of Office workers, according to the latest research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority, ACMA.
We’re still a long way from saying that Out of Office work is the majority of work, but ACMA reports that 51% of employed Australians do some sort of Out of Office work (that is, using the Internet for working away from the office) as part of their regular work style. Not surprisingly, for most of them (80%), the home is the most common place where they work away from the office.
ACMA has created this infographic to summarise their findings:
© Commonwealth of Australia (Australian Communications and Media Authority) 2014.
One of the main arguments against Out of Office work is that it creates barriers and obstacles between people connecting with each other. On the surface, it’s hard to argue with that reasoning. After all, how can you create as real a connection with somebody when you only ever interact with them at the other end of a phone line, Skype conference call, or Google Hangout?
The counter-argument is that this might be exactly right! Yes, it might not be possible to create the same sort of human connection as you do when you’re in the same room. But that shouldn’t necessarily mean you can’t create any connection with them at all. Nor does it mean that Out of Office work has other advantages that might – on balance – be more valuable.
There are some things you can do to increase connection in online collaboration, as the Harvard Business Review blog article, “How Virtual Teams Can Create Human Connections Despite Distance”, outlines:
- Setting ground rules for managing virtual communications
- Aligning personal and professional goals
- Strengthening relationships to enable the candour required for true collaboration
That’s just a summary of the points, and you can read the full article for the details.
Citrix Labs has just released the Cubefree iPhone app, which helps Out Of Office workers find libraries, cafes and co-working spaces with suitable workshifting amenities. The app also shows you other Cubefree users who are nearby, including those who might be part of your professional or social network.
Being a Citrix product, Cubefree integrates with other Citrix tools such as GotoMeeting, GotoWebinar, ShareFile, and Podio. The promotional video shown below provides an overview of the app.
Cubefree isn’t the first such app for finding workspaces – for a list of nine more see this blogpost. If you’ve used any of these apps or know of others then please tell us about it by leaving a comment.
Kim Mason is an independent travel agent working under the TravelManagers banner, and she is one of 400+ travel agents in that organisation who work from home. I came across Kim because I’m speaking at the TravelManagers national conference next month, and Kim and I are collaborating on a workshop about time management and productivity for home office workers.
This book is short but full of practical advice for anybody who works from a home office or is contemplating making the move there. I particularly like that it’s a nice blend of strategy and tactics, from the Big Picture questions (for example, why you decided to work from home) to practical daily suggestions (such as how to choose your “open for business” hours).
Fiona MacDonald, research fellow at the Centre for Work + Life, University of South Australia, has written an interesting article for the Sydney Morning Herald entitled Working from home might not be the answer to work-life balance. MacDonald interviewed women employed as small-business bookkeepers, some working from home others working in an office. For women with caring responsibilities who work from home, MacDonald observed the following:
- they have greater flexibility in their daily routines but “an increased likelihood work would have to be done on weekends and in the evenings and at night”
- “tension between their caring and paid work responsibilities”
- feelings of isolation; missing the social experience of the workplace, and not having any leisure time
MacDonald concludes with some useful advice for Out Of Office working mums that echoes the ideas and techniques we describe in our book:
- paid work hours need to be scheduled and contained
- contain the spaces in which work is performed so the door can be shut when the paid work day is over
- have a mix of hours at home and hours in a separate workplace to help maintain social connections
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