The idea was to get a few people in different areas and businesses to try working from “anywhere” for the day and record their results.
In the run up to the travel chaos of the Olympics here in London, this seemed like a great idea, so we all picked days we would be able to do the experiment and were put into two groups.
I chose to work between home and running out and about to appointments, and keep people updated via Twitter using the hashtag #AWExperiment.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Working from other places can be a lot of fun
I found you get more variety, can meet new people, or just watch the world go by as you work. However, it can also be really annoying if you end up somewhere that’s too busy.
Lesson: Pick your spot carefully and be prepared to try a few different places until you find the right one.
2. For me, the most important thing about Anywhere Working is connectedness
When I work, I need both a phone and an internet connection. I tried a couple of locations that had great Wi-Fi and others that had terrible Wi-Fi. Luckily, I have a Mi-Fi dongle and used that when the local Wi-Fi failed me.
Lesson: Have a connectivity back-up plan.
3. SaaS (Software as a Service) tools make Anywhere Working a breeze
I am used to using a number of SaaS tools, like Constant Contact, in my day-to-day work, however I hadn’t really realised that this means I can use them from anywhere as long as I have my laptop and an internet connection. It’s obvious now, but I honestly hadn’t thought about it like that before. You CAN do your newsletter from a park bench—as long as you’re online!
Lesson: Think about the SaaS services you use, and get some of that stuff done whilst you’re out.
4. Pack only what you need for the day
When moving about, the weight of your gadgets becomes important, as does the speed at which you can boot them up, so my iPad became more useful than my laptop when I only had a few minutes in one spot. However, lugging them both around made my bag heavier, so I decided to ditch a lot of the normal contents I really didn’t need.
Lesson: I don’t need half the stuff in my work bag. Lots of it can stay on my desk!
5. Have a plan
Whilst I was out and about, I mistimed a few things, which meant that I had to reschedule phone calls. I hate doing this and it’s annoying to the people I was supposed to be calling. Luckily, they were very accommodating, but I want to make sure I can get to them on time— even if I’m Anywhere Working!
Lesson: Working from other places doesn’t mean being totally free and easy with my diary. It’s a good idea to plan a few points in the day when you know you can do phone calls without too much background noise, etc.
I hope some of these lessons help you in working more mobile. Overall, I loved it and look forward to doing it as part of my regular working pattern.
What’s your favourite spot to work from? Let me know in the comments below.