Everyone is talking about working remotely by becoming office independent as the new lifestyle of the millennial professional. Staying productive and connected to your team can be difficult while inside the office, so what happens when the need for a dedicated office is made irrelevant?
I have worked in and around startups for the last 5 years, inside Germany and Europe, where I found true freedom in using technology to work and collaborate remotely with my teams across time zones. I’ve worked from beaches in Egypt to Croatia and from airports in probably 20 different countries. We are now in a place where technology allows many jobs to be done outside of a traditional office setting. If you are thinking of also trying the remote workspace lifestyle or offering it to your employees, let me congratulate you for joining the club. I want to leave you with some tips and technology that I use daily that may help your transition to workplace freedom.
Make a plan / schedule
The biggest issue that may arise is finding your work / life balance. Just because you don’t have a dedicated office doesn’t mean that you don’t have to create working hours. In fact, it is even more essential that you schedule when and where you will work. Now more than ever your day to day activities are managed by you. Find and map out your productive rhythm. For example: If you know that you work better in the early hours or maybe later in the evening, then make that your daily plan. Choose the places the distract you the least. ALWAYS add it to your calendars. This does not mean that you can’t have some flexibility in your working times. Just means that you need to find pattern that works best for you. The great thing is that you can also plan you fun times when you would like (if it fits into your company’s working times).
Make a list of places to work
Currently I have list of places with Wifi connection in my 5 most visited cities. I have them in free and paid categories and saved them to my Foursquare list and Google Maps. I also (after visiting) know which places are better to take meetings. These include cafes, co-working spaces and sometimes even bars/restaurants. When I am going to a new city I take the time to find out where these places are and then schedule myself to be there for my working hours.
When working from your home, take time to find your creative workspace. This is the opportunity to make it the perfect working environment for your needs. This should be a place where you love being. If you like being there and distractions are reduced then the productive creative juices can flow.
Technology is your friend
In order to collaborate and stay productive, I have to be connected. Since I don’t always know where I will be or if I will have my physical laptop with me I always work through a cloud workspace such as tocario’s deskmate (Full disclosure: I currently work at tocario but after already using their cloud workspaces). What a cloud workspace allows is for me to collaborate, share my desktop when needed, backup my work and always have access to my needed applications whenever needed.
Full list of technologies that I use include:
- deskMate: Cloud workspace that is fast, light and customizable for my needs. Also lets me work with my desktop apps from any device such as smartphone or tablet.
- Evernote: Collect notes, save places, organize meetings. This is a go to resource for saving all my thoughts and places that I’ve been.
- Uberconference: This is the easiest way to have teleconferences from computer or phone.
- ScheduleOnce: My calendars are connected to ScheduleOnce and this allows people to know when I have available to schedule conferences or working times.
- Google Maps & Foursquare: I keep all of my places with wifi either in Foursquare list of Google Maps. I like using Foursquare because I can see what the place offers and what the aesthetic is like.
Get friends and family on the same page
Last but not least is to tell your friends and family of your intentions. Though you may not work with friends or family directly, they are still a very important part in making your remote working environments productive. Let them know that you are trying out a new working schedule and need to keep to certain obligations. Your scheduled work time should be shared and known that you are off limits. Since they know ahead of time, they are less likely to pressure your with fun distractions as it’s like you are in an office.
It may seem like a big jump to start working outside of an office, which it is but with the proper planning and tools it becomes a world of fun. Take time to prepare everything and if you must present the plan to you boss. Make sure to show how it will benefit the company when you have the freedom to work productively from anywhere.