I don’t workshift every day, but I do work from outside of my office occasionally since Citrix products make it easy to do so. I can attend any meeting using GoToMeeting, keep on top of any task using Podio and get all my files using ShareFile. I find that the more I workshift the better I become at it.
Here are some things I’ve learned:
Work when you are most productive
I’m more productive right when I get up. Unlike a day where I come into the office, I don’t have to worry about hopping in the shower, a wait in line at the coffee shop or sitting at a stoplight. I get up and get right to work, checking my email and starting on any of the tasks I have for the day. Since I have two children, I’m usually up at 7 AM, and once I get them dressed and fed, I can tackle my own work. I find that I work very efficiently and have minimal distractions during the first few hours of the day. I can then take a shower in order to recharge a bit before diving into other tasks or hopping on a GoToMeeting.
When I was first workshifting, I often felt like I needed to be at my laptop every second of the day. I often would run to kitchen around noon, grab something and run back to my laptop. I finally realized that I needed to be taking a break during that time and getting away from work much like I do when I’m in the office. Taking 30 minutes to eat really helps me be more productive later in the day.
Since I don’t workshift every day, I don’t need a dedicated workspace in my home. While I do have a desk in my home, I tend to move around throughout the day. When I’m in the ShareFile office, I’m at my desk working all day. When workshifting, I have a wider range of choices. Sometimes I’ll work on the couch while my wife, who workshifts for her job two days a week, works at her desk. Other times, I’ll head out to my deck and work in the shade. I never feel like I lose any productivity by moving around. In fact, I feel like mixing up my workspace only increases my productivity.
Take a break and talk to someone,—anyone
In the office, I’ll sometimes take a break and walk down the hall to play a game of Dig Dug in our break room. I’ll also wander back to the marketing department and jump into one of the conversations happening back there. While workshifting, I don’t get the opportunity to talk to a wide range of people, but I find that taking some time to talk with whomever is home—my wife, my kids or even the cat—allowed me to get a needed break from my work and be able to dive back in and be even more productive.
Working for a company that encourages workshifting has made me more productive and a better employee. I encourage my direct reports to workshift and have often found that they are more productive on the day they do so as well as the days following.