About The Book
The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries created the need for workers to come to offices every day. Until recently, many office workers had no choice except to work in the office, because that’s where they could find files, telephones, the secretarial pool and their colleagues.
However, working in an office now might still be convenient and efficient, but it’s often no longer necessary. We have access to files over the Internet, telephones in our pockets, secretarial assistance from outsourced providers, and can meet colleagues remotely.
Millions of office-bound workers – employees and business owners alike – have changed their work style so they are not forced to work in an office every day from Monday to Friday. They do this for convenience, comfort and freedom – and they can be just as productive, and their organisation can be just as profitable.
This book is to help you become one of those millions.
Who Is This Book For?
There are many books, courses, coaches and other resources to help you discover your passion, find your dream job, start the perfect business, do what you love and wait for the money to follow, or design a life where only four hours a week feels like work. These are all worthwhile aims, but this book won’t help you with them!
Rather, this is a book for people who are happy with their work. We assume you enjoy your job or your business, and you’d like to use the Internet to give you more convenience, comfort and freedom in where and when you work.
In this book we consider three broad Out of Office environments:
- The Semi-Commuter, or part-time telecommuter, who spends some time at work and some at home
- The E-Worker, or full-time telecommuter, who works from home full-time
- The Digital Nomad, or location-independent worker, who isn’t necessarily confined to a single workplace
Each has different needs and attributes, as you can see in this presentation (just click the vertical headings to move between pages):
- The Semi-Commuter
The Semi-Commuter has two workplaces – typically their office and their home.
- At Your Convenience
At Your Convenience
Being a Semi-Commuter is convenient, but you need to be disciplined, and learn how to manage your personal effectiveness in four broad areas:
- Time: how you manage your time, focus and attention
- Space: how you create a productive work space
- Technology: how you enlist technology in managing flow
- Security: how to do it all with appropriate security in place
- Cooperate With Them
Cooperate With Them
Even when you're working independently from your Out of Office workplace, you might have to cooperate with clients and colleagues. The way you do this determines how well your Out of Office environment will work. This includes things like:
- Setting clear ground rules and expectations
- Managing e-mail without letting it overwhelm you
- Using the phone (and Skype) effectively
- Conducting effective and efficient on-line meetings
- The E-Worker
The E-Worker works full-time from a home office - either away from colleagues or without any colleagues (solopreneur).
- For Your Comfort
For Your Comfort
Comfort is the biggest benefit of the E-Worker lifestyle, because you work from the place which you have deliberately designed as the most comfortable place in your life: your home.
- When it comes to time management, the key idea is flexibility
- Your workspace should be clearly delineated from the rest of the house
- The Internet is vital in supporting collaboration between you and your colleagues
- You take greater responsibility for securing and protecting you information resources
- Collaborate With Them
Collaborate With Them
As a full-time E-Worker, you must be able to collaborate effectively on-line with clients, colleagues and close business associates. It’s no longer enough to keep them at arm’s length and work around the times you’re not available face to face. Because you’re away from the office full time, on-line collaboration needs to be part of your normal working day.
Doing this effectively means first understanding the principles of good collaboration - especially with remotely distributed teams - and then using the right on-line collaboration tools.
- Let In The World
Let In The World
You let in the world for personal reasons (to create social connections) and professional reasons (to ask for help and offer help):
- Safety in numbers: If in doubt, stick with the crowd
- Think for yourself: Don't accept things at face value
- Join the club: Join on-line communities and forums
- Join the conversation: Participate actively in these forums
- Use social media: Use social media tools effectively, without letting them take over your life
- The Digital Nomad
The Digital Nomad has no fixed workplace, and often no fixed working hours either.
- Finally Free
The Digital Nomad lifestyle offers a lot of freedom, but requires real discipline to make it work effectively. Personal effectiveness is important, in these areas:
- Time: Being disciplined when you have no boundaries
- Space: Working effectively in different work spaces
- Technology: Using tools and techniques to make you portable
- Security: Managing your personal security, property and Internet access when working in public places
- Accommodate Them
As a Digital Nomad, you must accommodate your less mobile clients and colleagues, so your changing circumstances have as little impact as possible on them.
- Self Help: You help them solve problems on their own.
- Help Each Other: You build a community of people who can assist each other.
- Helping Hands: You introduce an intermediary, such as a virtual assistant or help desk, who can provide support.
- Pitch In and Help: You assist them when they do need your help directly.
- Embrace The World
Embrace The World
The Cloud, the Internet and the Out of Office mind-set mean you don’t have to leave your work behind – whether you’re away for three days, three weeks or three months. If you’re already operating as a Digital Nomad, it’s surprisingly easy to do it from somewhere else in the world. In fact, if you’re a business owner who worries about not being available to your business even for a few days, this might be the best way to take a holiday. You combine work and pleasure, getting the best of both worlds.
- Buy The Book!
What would your life be like if you didn't have to spend every working day at an office?
Out Of Office will show you the path to greater convenience, comfort and freedom in your work life.
You don’t have to follow this path one step at a time, nor are we suggesting everybody should aspire to be a Digital Nomad. We won’t make any judgement about what’s best for you. But we do encourage you to choose your work style, rather than having it dictated to you.
The Out of Office environment is the way of the future. The main reason for its growing popularity is the growth of the Internet in general, and ‘Cloud Computing’ in particular, which has made the Out of Office environment feasible, even for small organisations.
Cloud computing is not a technology; rather, it’s the practice of having software and data on the Internet, rather than on computers.
It means we have access to our files, software, services and everything else wherever we are – from our office, our home, or an Internet café in a foreign country. We don’t have to carry a laptop computer with us or keep transferring files back and forth using USB thumb drives.
How Do You Get Started?
Take a few minutes now to imagine what your life could be like if you didn’t have to spend every work day at an office. Ask yourself these two questions:
- What unpleasant things could I eliminate from my life?
- What pleasant things could I add to my life?
For example, the answer to your first question might include: a long commute in traffic, a tiny cubicle as your workspace, bickering co-workers, people who constantly interrupt you at work, lack of natural light, expensive parking, late nights at the office, out-of-date software, and so on.
For the second question, your answers might include: natural light while you work, flexibility in your working hours, more time with family and friends, and so on.
This is not just a pipe dream; it’s a reality for millions of people, and it could be your reality as well.