October 18, 2011
The Wall Street Journal‘s Sarah Max just did a piece on the rise of mobile workers and the challenge of staying connected. One company runs its annual meeting completely online with a employees doing everything you’d normally do at an annual meeting - from schmoozing over a muffin to raising a hand to comment – online. “The CUNA Mutual team is outfitted with webcams and Cisco’s WebEx, a software program that allows users to see as many as six other people at a time on their computer screen, share desktops and ‘raise their hands’ to speak.”
Working from Los Angeles for Herman Miller – who are based in Michigan – I often phone in for meetings. And as Max points out in her article, you don’t always feel as tight a part of the team as the people in the room. But there are simple solutions. Often it’s as easy as turning up the volume on the phone so you can hear all the participants a little better. And visits to head office a few times a year are essential for building connections with the people you work with directly. One thing Max didn’t mention was the power of email. A quick note sent to someone after a meeting just recapping can really help reconnect to a project.
We’d love to hear how you stay connected? What works for you?
February 10, 2010
The Wall Street Journal just ran an interesting piece by Richard Greenwald on the rise of freelancers and consultants. “The implications for the American workplace are profound. Imagine one in four workers, of all collars, working on a contingent basis. Whole career paths and professions have shifted from stable full-time jobs with definable career ladders and benefits to almost completely contingent work forces that shift from project to project.”
It’s fascinating and Greenwald offers some very good advice, including the following – “…successful consultants say that having a work space separate from your living space is crucial. Clients do not want to have an important phone conference interrupted by a nagging two-year-old, a TV in the background or the sounds of street traffic. Most freelancers I spoke to have a space in their home that is solely for work—a bunker, as it were.”
I like the idea of a bunker. If you’ve got any bunker-like work spaces send them in – we’d love to see them.
The home office above is from Steven & Chris – Decor on a Dime series.
January 7, 2010
If you are thinking about working from home you certainly aren’t alone. In fact you’re in rather good company. LinkedIn and Hewlett-Packard both started from home. The Wall Street Journal just ran a great article by Colleen Debaise (author of The Wall Street Journal’s Complete Small Business Guidebook). The article includes the following five questions to consider before you take the plunge. Are you ready?
1. Am I passionate about my product or service? The start-up phase is stressful. You’ll need zeal to get through the rough patches, especially in the early days when hours are long and initial profits (if any) are lean.
2. What is my tolerance for risk? There’s no guarantee of success — or even a steady paycheck. If you’re risk-averse, entrepreneurship probably isn’t the right path for you.
3. Am I good at making decisions? No one else is going to make them for you. Consider how you might handle these early decisions: Do I incorporate? Do I advertise? Do I borrow money from friends or family?
4. Am I willing to take on numerous responsibilities? A start-up entrepreneur must juggle many roles — from chief salesperson and bookkeeper to head marketer and bill collector.
5. Will I be able to avoid burnout? Many entrepreneurs find it hard to step away. You’ll need to develop a work/life balance to avoid working seven days a week, losing touch with friends and upsetting loved ones.