Working away from the traditional office setting is becoming an increasingly common part of a lot of people’s lives. Whether as a lone entrepreneur or as a remote employee of a larger organization, working from home, coffee shops, co-working spaces, hotels, airports and other non-traditional spaces is on the rise.
Here are ten ways you work Out of Office more effectively:
Integrate your work and home life, don’t try and balance them. Work/Life balance is a misnomer, how can things that don’t hold the same value ever balance and when they don’t how do you overcome the feelings of guilt. Instead of trying to balance things, integrate them for a better sense of achievement.
Plan your day. It’s tempting when working from home especially to simply let the day unfold as it will but that is also the easiest way to find the day getting away from you. Set goals, make a plan or to do list and ensure things are ticked off it by the end of your work day.
Outsource the little things. You can’t be two places at once, as much as you try to be. So consider services that take on some of your chores as a way of freeing up time for other activities. Services like Taskrabbit offer up the ability for other people to do things like collect dry cleaning, mail packages and other time consuming activities, for a very low fee. This leaves you more time to focus on the bigger picture.
Use technology to help you maintain contact. Whether you work alone or work as part of a team, human contact is important to all of us. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to meet up with people face to face so utilize services like Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts and other video conferencing services to maintain that level of contact. Scheduling one or two of these calls a week can reduce the feelings of isolation that some remote workers feel.
Set aside a workspace. This seems obvious but trying to be effective working from the couch is not usually a good idea. Sure firing off a few emails is fine but tackling the daily tasks that most employees or self-employed Out of Office workers tackle needs a dedicated space with the right tools around to ensure efficiency.
Don’t let the Internet distract you. It can be all too easy to lose time following rabbits down Internet rabbit holes. While you might start with a legitimate search, it is all too easy to find yourself wandering off to the distant corners of the internet on a whim. Utilize browser plugins that limit access, especially to social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus to certain times of the day or for certain periods of time to keep your focus.
If you work from home be sure to set boundaries with partners and family members about your workspace and requests to complete domestic chores. Be reasonable and don’t use work to try and get out of doing your share but also help them understand what it is you do all day at home.
Make sure you discuss your work arrangements with an accountant or tax advisor, you can often realize savings at tax time if you dedicate a space in your home for use as an office. Negotiate with your employer if you are working from home for financial help toward the cost of a good quality desk, chair and other tools that will help you be more effective.
If you work with others on a regular basis make sure they understand your role within the team, regular communication led by you is essential to ensuring that you remain an integrated member of the team. Ensure that you aren’t missed off of meeting invites. Communication at a distance is harder and requires more effort on your part.
Remember to “come home” from work each day. Allowing your work day to spill over into family time is all to easy, the temptation to just walk back into your dedicated space because it is right there should be avoided whenever possible. Learn to turn it off.
The Out of Office workstyle can be extremely rewarding for individuals and organizations if handled in the right way and thought through properly.