Having the ability to work from anywhere has been sold as the ultimate dream in flexible working. As technology has developed and the importance of having a sound work-life balance become accepted, more and more people have taken the decision to work from somewhere other than their desk.
The opportunities are endless, and whether you simply choose to work from your home office or local café or spend your time travelling the farthest corners of the world, remote working has undoubtedly increased flexibility and agency for workers.
One of the major drivers of this flexible working is the bid to increase productivity, with many people finding it difficult to focus for long periods of time in drab and dreary offices and uninspiring desk spaces. Yet working from anywhere does not always automatically lead to increased productivity, with the capacity for distraction and disruption sometimes equally high at home or in a café.
Here are 3 ways you can ensure that you are at your most productive when working from anywhere.
1. REDUCE DISTRACTIONS
Although the office should in theory be designed as the optimal working environment and have minimal distractions, in reality offices can often be busy, noisy spaces that provide frequent and unwanted disruptions to your concentration and efficiency.
While some struggle to separate work from leisure when left to organise this barrier themselves, others thrive on the ability to set their own agenda and create a workspace devoid of precisely what distracts them as an individual.
For Forbes contributor Evan Varsamis, working from home enables him to feel less distracted. He explains that ‘I know when I am the most focused, and I make sure to dedicate that time of day to my job. I set the rest of my priorities in life accordingly so that I don't feel like I want to be somewhere I'm not.’ This is a useful skill to learn when managing your own time, as rather than working long hours but remaining unproductive you can make the most out of your most productive times of day and work as efficiently when needed.
2. LEARN TO EMBRACE FLEXIBILITY
While the dream of having the ultimate flexible schedule can sound magical, not everyone finds it easy to embrace the level of flexibility that working from anywhere requires. This is particularly applicable if the reason for your choice to work from anywhere is so that you can travel while you work.
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR) ‘for better or for worse, travel is unpredictable’ and although this can be half the fun and lead to a great adventure, this is only true ‘if you aren’t so frustrated and resentful that you can’t get past it.’
Suggesting that ‘if you want your time working remotely to be successful, you have to be willing to adapt, and accept that you can’t control everything.’ Although difficult for some, this advice is essential if you are to maintain high productivity in the face of simple challenges like low internet connectivity or humid weather that are a fact of everyday life in some parts of the world. HBR recommends that professionals consider carefully their tolerance and flexibility before making the decision to work from anywhere, as not everyone has the self-discipline needed to make it work.
3. FIND A HAPPY MEDIUM
Sometimes working from anywhere AND in an office can provide a happy medium. This approach sits well between the flexibility, but also at times inconvenience, of working from anywhere, but avoids the monotony and lack of inspiration that permanent offices can bring.
For FastCompany speaking to Mike Del Ponte, founder of Soma, the best way to combine the philosophies encapsulated in each of these two working methods is to give employees the choice of where they work. Arguing that the environment needed is highly dependent on what work you are doing on any given day, Del Ponte points out that ‘there are times when teams need to be together to collaborate, but there are other times when people need to work independently, focusing deeply on a particular project.’ Adapting a hybrid approach can be the best way forward in this scenario, whether that means a few days in each place or, as in Del Ponte’s case, a “work from anywhere week”.
Whatever your reasons for working from anywhere, there are always tips and tricks you can employ to keep your productivity high while you are away from the conventional office.
As global innovation specialists we aim to help and encourage people and organizations to become more nimble, boosting their ability to generate ideas. We bring pace and focus to your innovation initiatives using our unique innovation techniques, which are constantly being developed by our professional licensees. If you’re interested in becoming a licensee for the think team, contact us here.