Out of Office

Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

5 Ways to Be Productive While Enjoying the Outdoors

One of the great things about working Out Of Office is that you can work from almost anywhere, including the great outdoors. Jennifer Parris suggests five ways you can be productive when you’re outdoors:

  • Being away from your desk can be a great way to clear your mind so you can focus a single issue
  • Similarly, uncluttering your thoughts can lead to inspirational ideas
  • When inspiration strikes, record your thoughts on your smartphone
  • Maintain connectivity to the Internet by setting up your smartphone as a mobile hotspot
  • Catch up on the latest news and developments by listening to podcasts by leaders in your area of expertise

I’d add that simply relaxing and enjoying the outdoors is a great way to recharge, and in so doing, avoid the fatigue that can sap productivity.

Read Jennifer’s article in full.

Charles Duhigg: 8 Top Tips for Productivity

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, and the author of “Smarter Faster Better – The Secrets of Being Productive In Life and Business”. Charles was recently interviewed on the Virgin Podcast, in which he shared the following productivity tips:

  • Motivate yourself
  • Look for elements that you enjoy
  • Focus on building mental models
  • Set goals
  • Don’t get caught up in decision making
  • Draw on your own experiences
  • Delegate
  • Embrace panic

Listen to the interview and read Richard Branson’s accompanying blog article.

New Study Confirms the Benefits of Flexible Work Arrangements

A new randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and MIT Sloan School of Management has added to the growing evidence that flexible work arrangements contribute to workers being happier, healthier and more productive.

The study recruited more than 700 workers from the IT department of a Fortune 500 company. The control group worked under the company’s pre-existing policies while the treatment group received training in practices designed to improve their sense of control over their work, and focused on results rather than time spent at work.

The practices included reorganising work schedules, working from home more often, rethinking the amount of time spent in meetings, using instant messaging for communication, and anticipating periods of high demand. Managers received training in supporting the professional development of their workers, and understanding their personal circumstances.

At the conclusion of the 12 month study the treatment group reported having greater control over their work, more support from their bosses and spending more time with their families. They also reported greater job satisfaction, and less stress and burnout than workers in the control group. They also showed fewer symptoms of psychological distress.

The research is groundbreaking in that it is the first to test flexible work arrangements using a randomized controlled trial – the gold standard for this type of study.

Read the press release in full..

Health, wellbeing and productivity in offices

As Out Of Office workers we have a high degree of control over how our workspaces are set up. So, if you want to further improve your productivity beyond the high levels you already enjoy then you might consider investing in an indoor plant or two and shifting your desk close to a window.

According to a report by the World Green Buildings Council (WGBC) workers with access to natural light enjoy better sleep, better quality-of-life scores and higher productivity. Also having an expansive view was found to relieve stress and promote creativity. And “biophilia” – our affinity for living things – helps relieve stress, improve cognitive function and promote creativity.

Now, I’m not sure how much of the correlation reported by the WGBC is causal but at the very least creating a pleasant, natural workspace has got to be worthwhile. And if your opportunities for accessing natural light and biophilia in your home office are limited, well, you can always grab your smartphone and laptop and head for the nearest park.

If you’ve created a green workspace we’d love to hear from you. Please let us know your experience by leaving a comment.

Use HiTask for managing your ToDo list and much more

I’ve been using HiTask for three weeks and it’s become central to my work flow. It has a simple user interface that allows you to organise all of your tasks in one place that’s accessible from your desktop, tablet and smartphone.

You can organise your tasks by project, date and assignee. I particularly like the ability to break down tasks into separate sub-tasks. HiTask also allows teams to coordinate their work on collaborative projects but I’ve not yet used this feature.

The video below provides an overview of the tool. If you like what you see then try it out.

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.

Creating Connected Distributed Teams

Often, people in distributed teams don’t have the same personal connections with remote team members as they have with people in the same office. This is natural, of course, but can be overcome. Creating better personal connections leads to more rewarding work, better collaboration, and higher productivity.

Listen to the episode here:


Video: The Pomodoro Technique

We’re big fans of time-management systems such as the Pomodoro Technique. At their core these techniques involve repeated cycles of focussed work sessions followed by a rest break. This helps boost productivity and avoid fatigue. But there’s even more to it as you’ll see when you watch the promotional video below.

5 Ways to Balance Your Out Of Office Workload

While many studies show that Out Of Office workers are happier and more productive than their office-bound counterparts, it’s not all a bed of roses. One downside is that some Out Of Office workers feel they should take on additional work because of their more flexible work style. Crystal McCullough lists five ways Out Of Office workers can avoid this kind of problem:

  • Have realistic expectations and plans
  • Don’t feel guilty about taking time off
  • Minimise distractions
  • Don’t fire the nanny
  • Avoid working out of hours

Read Crystal’s article in full on the Citrix GotoMeeting blog.

How do you manage your Out Of Office work-life balance? Let us know by leaving a comment.