“Ah, Herr Lamont. Ja, vee had a room for you…”
As greetings go, this is not what you want to hear when arriving at a hotel in the middle of the night. It is certainly not what you want to hear after your flight has left late, arrived late, and missed a connection that meant renting a car to finish the journey.
Nine years ago we decided to leave our normal jobs and to start our own business venture. Having worked for companies such as IBM, Motorola, and HP, we had benefited from excellent experiences, but also from consistent errors that we saw which we did not want to repeat in the future: interruptions.
Living in pyjamas, watching daytime TV, wasting time on Facebook, taking two-hour lunch breaks to go to the gym…these are some of the images people often associate with home working. In my experience however, these couldn’t be further from the truth.
When I began working from home 10 years ago, the lack of office distractions and my newfound freedom to focus on a piece of work for an extended length of time, was a revelation. It was a novelty that has never worn off, and I look back on my years of office-filled banter, sitting within a busy newsroom among journalists who were continually talking on the phone, and I wonder how I was ever able to get anything done!
Co-working is a fast-growing trend.
Initially, it was the domain of start-ups who’d outgrown their bedroom-based offices and needed a flexible, affordable space for their growing business. But over time the popularity and number of co-working spaces has blossomed, with more and more professionals wanting to decide for themselves how and when they work, so that they can spend more time with family, waste less money on travel and operate from an environment that inspires and motivates them.
Ten years ago, almost to this day, I set-up my first home office and entered the world of remote working. Back in 2006, virtual working was the exception rather than the rule, and I only made it sustainable through hefty train fares into London each month for regular client meetings. Virtual collaboration tools and technology had a long way still to go, and connectivity was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it is today. But nevertheless, I made it work well, and discovered a newfound freedom through working when and where I liked.
The workplace has been steadily evolving over the past year or two, and big changes have come afoot in the first part of 2016. In the UK, the shift towards co-working has exploded, which has been led in part by the increasing number of individuals choosing to go freelance, who want more flexibility and control over where and when they work. Currently there are 1.4 million freelancers working in the UK, and the continued growth of virtual collaboration tools and technology, as well as the increasing acceptance of remote working, has given the freelance economy a tremendous boost.
How many business trips have you made this year?
Sometimes you just have to travel.
And as much as I love being able to catch up with my wonderful colleagues in Germany and Australia through an online meeting tool (GoToMeeting of course), sometimes you have to jump on a plane and get in the same room as someone.
13%…a statistic I’d advise you to get to know sooner rather than later, if you are one of the increasing numbers of remote workers. In a 2014 report produced by Stanford University, it was found that mobile and remote workers are 13% more productive than their office-based counterparts.
The ‘office’ as we know it has undergone a significant transformation in the past few years, with many businesses and employees warming up to the benefits of remote or virtual working. It’s a trend that has infiltrated businesses of all sizes, from global organisations through to SMEs, sole traders and freelancers.
If you didn’t take time over Christmas to clean and organise your home office, Organise Your Home Office Day on March 8th is the perfect excuse to have a spring clean.
The average Briton takes 9.1 sick days a year, according to accountancy firm PwC. Doesn’t sound like much, does it, especially given that the average Briton works 150 days of the year*! But we all know that coming to work when you’re unwell won’t make you any friends AND could well make you feel worse!
Well, Citrix has done it again!
Gartner has released their Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing – and we’re thrilled to announce that Citrix and our web conferencing tools – GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining and remote support tool GoToAssist have yet again been recognised as a leader in the market.
If you were to work for a company in the US, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Brazil or South Africa, how would that compare to what you’d experience in the UK?
Working from home is gaining acceptance among a growing number of organisations, as HR policy-makers latch on to the value of flexibility in creating a stable, productive workforce. It’s no longer a nice-to-have or just for working parents – flexibility is becoming a key concern for today’s employees who want more say in how, when and where they work. Companies that don’t adapt to this new reality risk losing talented people to more progressive rivals.
As our work lives become gradually more flexible, more of us need to be productive outside an office. Whether you’re a freelancer or remote worker, chances are you’re going to want a change of scenery every once in a while. Cafes and co-working spaces are the perfect place to caffeinate, refuel and focus with other like-minded individuals.
Some 20 or so years ago, the internet revolutionalised the workplace, and fundamentally changed the way we worked. Now as we enter 2016, it feels like we’re standing on the precipice of another workplace transformation, which we’ve been hurtling towards for the past few years.
There is a lot to be said for being your own boss. I made the break from full-time employment in 2006, one month after getting married! I had a single client in place before handing in my notice, but it was still a big gamble, and particularly as I was hedging my bets on the emerging social media space. When I think back though, the nerves were minimal. Excitement and anticipation overwhelmed any feelings of doubt, and I couldn’t wait to be in charge of my professional future. I had created a tiny work space in my bedroom, within our one bedroom flat at the time. I was young, determined and raring to go.
Now that the countdown to Christmas is in full swing, it’s always nice to reflect on the highs of 2015, and in our case, the blog posts that really got our readers thinking and sharing. So just before we kick back with a glass of mulled wine and call it a wrap for 2015, we thought you might like our Christmas Top 10 of the posts that grabbed the most eyeballs this year…
Four years ago, the first edition of The Smart Working Handbook was published, designed to offer best practice advice in transforming organisations through smart working techniques. Its success was unprecedented, with more than 100,000 copies being downloaded and shared. Its advice has been adopted by numerous organisations including the UK Cabinet Office, as the official guide to Smart Working for the UK’s 440,000 civil servants.
I have to admit, I had never heard of Dame Stephanie Shirley until very recently when her name popped up in one of my social timelines. It appears I’m not the only one, which seems utterly unbelievable once you hear her story.
In 2015, 75% of employees rated flexibility as their most desired benefit. And perhaps more importantly for the future of work, Millennials seem to care more about a flexible workplace than any other generation.
It’s safe to say that wearables have successfully carved themselves a place in the consumer market: smartwatches, fitness trackers and notification devices are playing an increasingly prominent role in our day-to-day existence. Rapid advancements in flexible display technology mean that we’re able to expand our notion of what wearable tech can do, and where it can be used. But where do they fit in during working hours? Can wearables actually help us do our jobs?
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Who are we to argue with the wise words of Albert Einstein? Certainly not me! On some days, usually when I’m up against a big writing deadline, it’s hard to tell if there’s really a desk under my mountain of paperwork, notebooks and mugs. A former journalist colleague of mine once discovered a six-month old mouldy, half-eaten pasty on his desk when he was ordered to give it a clean up!
When project team members work in different locations, communication often suffers. A mobility strategy can help to spark team spirit and to bridge distances—without arduous travel.
Today was a day in the office for me. Office day’s involve a 650km round trip from my home on the south coast, into the heart of our capital city and then on to our head office. As a remote worker, these days are the exception rather than the rule but serve as an incredibly important part of my remote working experience.
Futurologists are forever trying to anticipate how today’s technologies will shape tomorrow’s working practices. Granted, we’re not at the point where our jobs have been taken over by robots with artificial intelligence, allowing us to enjoy a life of leisure, but communications platforms do allow us to interact and connect in ways we never thought possible. However, for many, the communications revolution hasn’t yet materialised into utopia.
Once upon a time, the idea of handling a difficult or sensitive conversation about redundancy, poor performance or conflict resolution, in any way other than in person, would have been considered poor etiquette. For some it would have been completely inappropriate.
I have to admit – I’m one of those workers who you’ll find tucking into a cheese and pickle sandwich at my desk at lunchtime. It’s a chance to have five minutes to myself and a cheeky peek at BuzzFeed before I crack on with my work. Not a great habit I know.
Love them or hate them, obsessively organise them or desperately avoid them, meetings are a massive part of working culture. From a quick team catch-up to a full blown brainstorm to the nervousness of a management meeting or client review, taking a group of people into a room often results in a series of personalities rising to the surface. How many of these have you encountered? (Clue: if you haven’t met one, you quite possibly are one!) And how do you use them to your advantage to make the most of the time?