Flying to Nicaragua at the moment to lend a hand at Futbol sin Fronteras, and thinking back to the days when I sat at a desk and wished for more flexibility to do the work I care about. Largely due to this shared desire, each member of our Lean Impact team made the leap a few years ago to work remotely. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about working on the road effectively, individually, and collectively.
Tips from our team on how to work remotely:
Leanne: Leverage Technology
People always ask how I get things done for work when I travel so much. The funny thing is I often get SO much more done when I’m working on the road and away from San Francisco. It gives me freedom to create and execute without the daily duties of life at home: social obligations, events, etc. The change of pace also dusts off those neurons and provides space for fresh thoughts. A home base in the U.S. is key for business development and relationship building, but time away is when I can really dig deep and exercise creativity in my work.
Still, there are challenges when it comes to communication with current and potential clients, but we’ve found some great tools to help with that. Not VOIP is a lifesaver. It allows me to call our clients with a crystal clear connection without using VOIP. For those working remotely (occasionally or always), give it a try.
Leah: Work remotely in the Cloud & Absorb Everything
People wonder how our team works together in various locations, and we really have to thank cloud-based tools that allow us to stay connected and work seamlessly. We use Google Docs for writing and spreadsheets; Dropbox for file sharing; and Yammer for team communications. We also use Skype for team meetings and Google Chat for quick communications. By “living in the cloud,” so to speak, we can work quickly and efficiently in real time.
But the best thing about working on the road is that it exposes you to new cultures, locations and people, all of which bring new influences into our work. Learning about how other cultures overcame challenges, immersing ourselves in others’ business and startup scenes, and meeting innovators worldwide – all of these impact our work in a positive way, and allow us to bring those new ideas into our client work. You simply can’t get that kind of creative influence sitting in an office, staring at the same four walls every day.
Shea: Log Off
Three years of working remotely for international organizations (read: multiple timezones) have taught me how important it is to log off and quit the day at some point. For the first six months, I tried to work remotely at all hours to be as accommodating as possible. It didn’t take long to see that this wasn’t a sustainable work plan, and that I could be just as present with a little planning.
Now, I take intentional offline time. Unless we’re on a deadline or something is time-sensitive, I take time, each day, away from email and the internet in general. I found this actually made me a much more efficient worker (and happier person) in the long run.
Your Turn: Do you work remotely? What are your tips for maximum productivity in the cloud? Please share below in the Comments section!
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