Download the MP3 File
Subscribe to the podcast here.
NotesThe Out Of Office lifestyle can take a number of different forms – and broadly we’re going to describe three of them:
- The “Cross-Worker”, or part-time telecommuter, who spends part of their working week Out Of Office – for example, in a home office.
- The “E-Worker”, or full-time telecommuter, who spends all their work time Out Of Office, but in a separate office (such as a home office).
- The “Digital Nomad”, or location-independent worker, who also spends all their work time Out Of Office, but isn’t necessarily confined to a single work place.
- You – and the main purpose in choosing this situation
- Your Team (colleagues, clients, suppliers and others) – and the way you interact with them
- The World (everybody else outside your work environment) – and how you engage with it
Off-SiterIn fact, we’ll start with a situation most workers find themselves in, which is not one of the three Out of Office situations, but is very common.
The typical office environment is where you work full-time from a common office - that is, you have fixed working hours, and a fixed workplace. This is sometimes disparagingly referred to as being a “desk jockey”. If you do work from somewhere else, it’s rare and usually because you want to work “off site” for some reason – for example, when you need quiet, uninterrupted time to focus on an important task. This is, strictly speaking, working “out of office”, but it’s only a small part of your work life.
If we look at You, Your Team and The World:
- Your purpose is to focus, and eliminate distractions
- You remain separate from your team – in other words, this is “Do Not Disturb” time
- You shut out the world, so it doesn’t distract you
Cross-WorkerThe first real Out of Office environment we’ll consider is the “Cross-Worker”, or part-time telecommuter. Again, you have fixed working hours, but now you have two workplaces – typically your office and your home. Some of your colleagues might also be doing the same, or they might not.
This applies to business owners as well. For example, in the early days of his business, Gihan made a decision to spend Fridays away from the office - deliberately cut off from clients and client work.
- Your purpose now is convenience, because you can schedule other things around your “at home” days
- You’re not isolated from your team, and you need to cooperate with them when they need your help (and vice versa). However, you don’t necessarily have to be as fully available to them on your Out of Office days, because you do spend some time in the office each week. So it’s more a matter of managing access and ensuring you are available if needed.
- You do still need to keep out the world, because it’s tempting to be distracted and unproductive on your Out of Office days.
The E-WorkerThe next Out of Office scenario is that of the full-time telecommuter, who either works from home away from colleagues or doesn’t have any colleagues - that is, a solopreneur. You still have fixed working hours, and now have just one fixed workplace – but it’s a home office rather than the shared office.
We’re dealing with this differently from the Cross-Worker, because in this situation you don’t have the luxury of spending time in the office each week. So you’re more fully committed to a home office, and need to set it up accordingly.
- Your purpose is primarily the comfort of working full-time from home.
- Your interaction with your team is now different. It’s no longer good enough to simply cooperate when required; you need to be able to collaborate with them, as effectively as you would face-to-face.
meetings, chat rooms, sharing documents
- You now let in the world, in order to call on them for help, and also to avoid the social isolation of a full-time telecommuter.
Digital NomadOur final Out of Office scenario is the Digital Nomad, where you get maximum flexibility, not just in where you work but also when you work. You have no fixed workplace, and you often don’t have fixed working hours either.
This is often seen as being only possible for independent business owners, and that’s certainly the most common scenario; however, that isn’t necessarily the case. Even full-time employees can live a Digital Nomad work style, if they choose it and their employer accommodates it.
- Your purpose now is freedom – to live by your rules, and still get paid to do so
- You now need to accommodate your team (and clients), because they don’t necessarily know when and how you’ll be available in their work day
- Finally, you have the opportunity to embrace the world – for example, by spending some time each year in a new city or even a foreign country