Staying Productive Even Outside Of The Office
In your working life, there will be times where you want to work, but unfortunately, you’re not at the office in order to do so.
This can really be a big drain on productivity, because you really want to finish your work for the day, but you’re unable to as you are away from the office.
Or perhaps you’re able to go to the office, but due to weather conditions and/or bad traffic, you are forced to stay at home because going outside is too risky.
Sometimes you might even be working out of the office doing work for clients, and you have just the right amount of time to address some work matters that have come up. Unfortunately, you can’t go back to the office right away, even though you would like to be productive.
Everyone is always looking for the best way to use their time effectively. Finishing up work so that you don’t have to worry about it in the future. The question is, what can you do to be productive?
The next question would be, if you are working outside the office for extended periods of time, what can you do in order to make yourself more productive while actually doing work and having a good work-life balance?
Thanks to the wonders of technology, it’s easy to find ways to work outside the office. With the right tools and the right mindset, you can still be productive even if you are away from the office for extended periods of time.
Understand What Tasks You Will Do Outside The Office
It’s easy to get caught up in the world being productive anytime, anywhere. The problem is, if you haven’t actually defined what tasks you want to do in the office, you will end up installing a lot of software and buying a lot of technology that you won’t need.
That’s a lot of money that you would be wasting for something that you could easily do with something cheaper, or get for free with a bit of smart thinking on your part.
There’s also the initial burst of creativity that emerges when you think of all the tasks that you could do. While it’s great to imagine what you could get done when you have free time, you actually have to be sure that you are solving real problems, and doing tasks that you are able to do.
You must also think about the people and the resources involved in a task. Are there things you can do, or do you have to wait for a teammate or approval in order to continue? Does the task need to be completed over a long period of time, or is it something you can complete now?
Without actually defining the tasks you will have to do, you might be trying to solve an imaginary problem, or end up trying to solve a problem through several steps that would result in a bigger inefficiency than if you just waited until you were back in your office.
The desire to be productive is great, but use it properly so that you can actually make sure that you are doing the tasks that need to be done.
Get The Right Technology
Working on tasks outside of the office may not be easy. Unlike most places, your office is equipped with all the resources and technology that you will need to do your work. Other areas, like your home and a client’s office, may not be equipped to do the tasks that you need.
You will need to get software that will allow you to connect to your work computer, as well as have your device configured to any devices (for example, any servers) that are necessary for you to do your work.
You will also need software that you use in your day-to-day tasks, such as a CRM system or word processing software. This is important, because you can’t be productive on a device that isn’t configured for work. You would have the motivation to work, but no tools to work with.
Software is one part, but the most important thing is the hardware. It doesn’t matter how amazing the software is if you don’t have the hardware that can run it. You will need to look at your laptops, and maybe a tablet or a smartphone.
As you will just need it for work, it is likely that you won’t have to get the best hardware available, but you should at least look for a laptop and a tablet/smartphone that can run the applications you need.
You may also need additional accessories, such as a headset, if you can’t take anything from your office to use while you are outside. While some may not be necessary, it can make it easier for you to work, and will motivate you to actually use the accessory since you had to bring it with you.
Communicate With Everyone Involved
It is important even though you may not be working inside the office, you are still responsible for any communication that needs to take place. After all, just because you may not be present for a meeting doesn’t mean you can just pretend the meeting never happened.
Continue to monitor your emails, and if your office has an instant messaging system, use that to send quick messages to colleagues. This also keeps you updated in the event that there are changes that need to be done to the project.
If you have collaboration software, this works just as well. You can work on your assigned project as much as you need to, and still track what everyone else is doing, as well as monitor project information and updates as the project continues.
This is important as you might feel disconnected the workplace if you don’t communicate with your colleagues. Communication is just as important in a remote setting as it is in a face-to-face location. You also can’t do your work if you are not communicating with people.
Whether you are out of the office for a client meeting, at an event, or doing remote work, remember to maintain communication with your company. Collaboration with your team is vital to getting your work done, and it is no less important while you are outside of the office.
Keep An Eye On The Time And Schedule
It is tempting to take work with you, whether you are bringing it home for remote work or you are taking it outside because you believe that you can work on some extra work during the downtime of travel or a client meeting.
But while you are away, time still passes, and if you don’t remember that you have work to do, it can ruin the entire point of being productive while you are outside.
If you can actually do a task within the given time frame (such as a task that you know will take 30 minutes and you have 3 hours to do it) or know that you will be working towards a due date (such as working on parts of a project before bringing it together), schedule your tasks and keep an eye on the time.
If you aren’t sure that you can complete a task in the small amount of time you have, or you discover that the downtime you have available is actually shorter than you expected, it’s better to leave that task alone until you have the time and resources to tackle it properly.
You will need to think about the urgency of the task, how quickly you can attend to it, and how long it will take you to actually do something about it. If you are not equipped to handle the task, or if you have to be in the office to do it, wait until you’re in a better position and then take care of the task.
Time management is critical, in or out of the office. You’re more productive not doing a task than if you handled it recklessly. Productivity isn’t the state of constantly working, but doing your work efficiently and effectively. If you don’t have the time, you don’t have the time.
Keep Your Work-Life Balance In Check
Doing work outside the office is a great thing. You can get work now so you don’t have to worry about it later.
However, even if you are using spare time to finish any incomplete work, that also means you are giving up time that you could use for a quick break, or some much needed downtime. Maybe you could go out and have a nice chat with clients or colleagues, or even go out for a walk and appreciate your surroundings.
Breaks are good for our mental and physical health. Breaks can help us refocus while giving us the energy to tackle our work. Sometimes you need that rest to recharge.
If you do remote work, it can be hard to separate work and personal matters. Since you will be doing work outside an environment that you are normally used to, you might be tempted to think that you have the time for an assignment, forgetting that you have other personal matters to attend to.
Too much work results in burnout, which prevents you from working or thinking about work. It’s best to take a break and leave your work in the office, even if it is only an email. Anything can be made to sound urgent, but few things are actually need to be completed immediately.
If you are going to be productive, pace yourself and make sure that you are giving yourself the time to rest. Work is important, but so is your health and mindset.
Productivity Outside The Office Is Possible
It might seem like a weird concept, having employees work outside the office, but this is something that is happening as your business grows. You will have employees who might be working with a client, or employees who would like to work remotely.
Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean work isn’t happening. It just means that if you want to remain productive, you’re going to be productive by getting the right tools, communicating with all parties, understanding what needs to be done and ensuring that you can actually be productive.
Technology has come a long way, and you should embrace the possibilities that it can offer.
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