This series on “Working Remotely” is inspired by “Remote,” the book by the 37Signals guys, and by my own experience working remotely for many years.
Working remotely isn’t limited to duplicating the office cubicle experience in your house or apartment.
Take the opportunity to be creative, bold, and productive, by exploring alternative working spaces. You may not be ready to give up your apartment and head off to explore the world with nothing but a carry-on bag while continuing to manage your practice, but it’s an exciting goal to work towards.
While you work on that, here are a few ideas that will get you out of the house and help you ramp up productivity, creativity, and get some joy out of the activity you spend most of your waking hours on: working.
In today’s always-on, myriad-distraction world, focus can be a challenge. For remotes who must exercise great control and discipline, the challenge is amplified. Getting out of the house and breaking up your task list into two or three location-specific sections will help you focus on a task or two at a time, clear your thoughts while you move to the next location, then dig in and focus on the next task or two. It’s like a location-based Pomodoro.
The usual suspects include coffee shops, libraries, and co-working spaces like WeWork and Regus. Extend your choices to parks and other venues – anywhere with WiFi access.
Have laptop, will travel
The Remote authors on nomadic freedom:
“When I retire, I’m going to travel the world” is a common dream, but why wait for retirement? If seeing the world is your passion, you shouldn’t wait until old age to pursue it. And if you’re working remotely, you can’t use the “but I have a job” excuse to defer living.”
This will take a culture shift at your firm. People still smirk at those who work from coffee shops, and employers (and employees back at the home office) may balk at remotes participating at meetings from Bonaire or submitting their work from Bali.
It’ll take several conversations and experiments to figure out what works in your particular situation. Some remotes may need to be local to attend to clients – like appearing in court – but if you’re location agnostic, there’s no reason you can’t be as productive (or more) working from anywhere in the world.
One of the shifts in company culture will involve evaluating and valuing work produced instead of time spent. The clock-in/clock-out mentality is still alive and kicking. A remote worker culture can help speed along change to a more value-based assessment – not just for remotes, but company wide.
Working remotely provides many benefits to both employers and employees, including access to talent, reduced costs, and increased productivity. Why not have fun doing it? Solves the whole work-life balance debate in one fell swoop.
Whether working remotely or not, many, if not most, probably prefer the comfort of home or have responsibilities tying them to one location. But if you’re in a constant state of wanderlust, go global. And if you need inspiration and practical advice, check out how Lee Rosen is getting ready for permanent travel and continuing his practice from around the world.
POSTS IN THE SERIES:
Working Remotely: The Many Benefits
Traits of an Effective Telecommuter
How to Manage Work-at-Home Employees
A Productive Home Office
Communication and collaboration
Managing Time, Boundaries, and Balance
Evaluating Employee Performance
Company Culture Beyond the Office Walls
How Lee Rosen Moved His Law Firm to an All-Remote Workforce
Working Remotely: Have Computer, Will Travel