Sometimes when working in an alternative workstyle, you really do need to be in two places at once. As a consultant, it's the only way to be productive AND responsive to your geographically dispersed clients.
Readers of this blog know we created Flipside Workspace as the online collaboration platform for the consulting arm of Duncan+Coleverria, Inc. It's worked so well for us, we're slowly opening it up to other companies and small businesses.
Online collaboration tools empower us by providing the opportunity to maintain a presence in multiple locations at once. This concept is illustrated by the latest video created by the Flipside Workspace team. To truly appreciate the rich scenery and immersive experience however, don't just watch the video... give Flipside a try! Having done so myself, I can tell you that this platform holds special appeal to untold numbers of Generation X and Y members who're already adept at navigating interactive virtual environments. In other words, we can take to this like a fish takes to water.
Since the rise of the Industrial Age, the vast majority of the population have chosen to go with regular employment in order to make a living due to existing incentives (e.g., pensions, benefits, etc.). Since this trend has been the norm for quite some time, self-employment has become perceived as “the ugly stepchild” – something people turn to when they “can’t get a job.” It’s true that a good contingent of people are forced into this situation, however there are still many who purposely choose it. Are they crazy?
Often I’ve heard that those who prefer regular employment and those who prefer self-employment don’t understand each other. Indeed, it seems to be the case of different values, motivations, and fears. I believe this gap between those who have an employee mindset and those who have a self-employment mindset is encapsulated well by one of my favorite Aesop’s fables, “The Dog and the Wolf.” For those who are unfamiliar with this story, here it is in the video below: Continue reading →
I just love this wonderful depiction of realities associated with working from home that has been displayed by Marieke Guy. I've heard a lot about these same distractions and concur that such problems are very real. Regardless of distractions at home vs. at a centralized office however, what puts working at home over working at an office for me is greater freedom to exercise control over distractions at home whereas making environmental changes at an office necessitates an approval process (involving a greater number of other people's needs and wants), the result of which might not go your way.
I'd also love for this graphical representation of work-at-home distractions to include distractions experienced by regular office workers for a visual, side-by-side comparison. I'd start that list off with frequently experienced distractions and time-wasters (cutting into time spent being productive for employee and employer alike I might add) from the beginning of the day due to the requirement to commute: (1) finding misplaced car keys, (2) getting out of car and running back to make sure front door is locked, (3) circling back around to make sure garage is closed, (4) circling back around to pick up a forgotten item you're supposed to bring to work... I better stop here or it'll be a long time before I get on with the rest of my life, haha! Plus, I'm sure the large numbers of office workers out there can mentally fill in the rest. :-P
Over the weekend, I went on a YouTube binge trying to identify the most informative videos on the future of work. This actually took quite a bit of time investment but guess I’m just obsessive like that! I selected the following videos on the basis of quality of content as well as diversity of opinions, hoping to cover the positive and negative aspects of work in the near future. These videos were also selected for conciseness as I know that not everyone can (or wants to) watch a bunch of hour-long videos (although there are some great lectures out there!). I’ve listed the videos in no particular order and have, instead, attempted categorization on the basis of what target audience might be most interested. They are all still worth watching regardless of who you are however! Enjoy! Continue reading →
If you haven’t yet participated in the “This or That? Work-Life Preferences” survey, then you may do so by clicking here! This survey is ongoing. Although just a handful of people have given voice to their preferences so far, these early results have taken me by surprise. I anticipated that there would be a diversity of preferences reflecting the diversity of participants themselves though. Some of the participants explained their choices to me through private messaging conversations which confirmed what I anticipated. The following are just some of the factors that impact people’s preferences. Continue reading →
“They just think that you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol,” a friend explained, “They don’t want to hire someone with that sort of problem.” So, employment gaps carry a negative stigma even though people have a wide variety of reasons for taking a few years off here and there. Due to the recession, potential employers have become more understanding as more people have them now, so I hear. However, well-meaning friends and relatives will urge you to cover them up with some story if you don’t already have a conventionally acceptable excuse to take a break. You can also gauge how much of a concern employment gaps are to those that have them by conducting an Internet search on how to explain them. Continue reading →
Conventional wisdom posits that the needs of employees and their employer are at odds with each other, however this assumption is not necessarily true. A mutually symbiotic relationship granting employees freedom and flexibility while increasing engagement and, hence, productivity is achievable! Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People will force you to examine how you think about work as well as how we unknowingly support the current, conventional view of work through the establishment and use of flexible work arrangements. Conventional flexible work arrangements, by the way, can’t achieve what a results-only work environment (ROWE) can. Continue reading →
“But not everyone can work this way!” is the most common, instinctive response I hear when talking about telework (especially in a full-time capacity) or results-only-work-environment (ROWE). Through everyday conversations I learn about instances where a full-time teleworker had a difficult time working this way because the presence of a spouse or child at home was distracting. In such a case, I point out that teleworkers need to establish ground rules before attempting to work from home. Moreover, one can still keep daycare arrangements, enlist the services of a sitter, or work at a co-working facility if one is available. On the other hand, I’ve experienced working with coworkers who’ve constantly distracted me with non-work related issues as well (e.g., peppering me with questions about whether or not I want to have children for the umpteenth time), so working in a centralized office isn’t a definite solution to distractions. My conversation partner also pointed out that I’m just lucky to be able to function more autonomously and not need so much social support at work and that this is the reason why the benefits of telework speak to me so much. She followed up by saying that other people are not this way, but I already know that. Continue reading →
Any knowledge workers here ever pretend to work? Perhaps you’ve squinted your eyes to feign concentration as you gaze at that document you’re working on and, all the while, thought about what you’re going to have for dinner. People around you just tended to assume you’re working right? If pretending to work is new to you, head on over to Google and search “how to pretend to work” or “how to look busy at work” and you will find that some people have it down to a science. How did we ever get here? You can gain an understanding about the problem of measuring knowledge work productivity by reading GSA Enterprise Transformation’s Knowledge Worker Productivity: Challenges, Issues, Solutions(click to download). As of the year 2011, the author explains (pp. 2-3): Continue reading →