It was a beautiful sunny Thursday morning last week that made me want ditch work and go to the beach. And even though I'm allowed to do it once in a while (God bless people who came up with flexible work arrangements!), I still had a tiny feeling of guilt deep inside because I thought I was going to lose the day and not get much work done. Not surprisingly, being a workaholic that I am, I ended up working from the beach, and the entire day turned out to be a quite productive, yet very enjoyable endeavor, complemented by a beautiful suntan by the end of the business hours.
The big surprise was to realize how easy it is to get things done from virtually anywhere, including Coney Island beach, with the tools we have these days. So here's my list of what you can do to trade a corner office for a home office, spa office, any other kind of office you can think of.
Switch to email communication.
Your desk phone number is the first thing that stands between you and the free world beyond the office walls. Avoiding the office seems impossible when you know people will be calling you all day long. On the other hand if you use email you will know that your clients can reach you anytime anywhere, and won't have you chained to that uncomfortable chair in the office. Plus, you know you won't be interrupted during the most precious moments, like when you are feeding your favorite gold fish or getting a hot stone massage.
Get a wireless handset made for business.
Blackberry has by far the best email on-the-go solution, it makes it easy to switch between email accounts, and with the push technology you get emails seamlessly delivered to your fingertips. Many people choose iPhone, but I personally wouldn't recommend it - touch screen may seem cool, but it makes typing unnecessarily complicated. And, hey, the last thing you want to do on the beach is deal with complicated technology.
Voice it with Google voice.
It kills me when I see that so many people still don't know about Google Voice. Its concept is brilliant - you get a phone number that can be redirected to any landline or cell phone in the country, like your office number, or home phone, or your cell. So if you accidentally forget to go to work one day, your clients can be calling you on the phone within the arm's reach from the couch in your living room. And here's the best part about it - they will have no idea that instead of sweating at work you are hanging out with the mummies at the Metropolitan museum.
Let candidates look for you, not the other way around.
One fact that has been noted about the consequences of the recession is that it killed many of the minor job websites, but brought new ones that learned to deliver great value at an extremely low price. You don't have to work hard manually searching for candidates when you've spent your entire budget on a job listing on Career Builder and can't afford to place another ad anywhere else. Take DandyProject.com
as an example. It can give you the same quality of the applicants as any major job search engine, but only for a fraction of the premium price. It's a win-win, you minimize recruitment costs
and maximize time spent tasting wine at the nearby winery.
Meet people around you.
You will meet people anywhere you decide to go instead of going to work (well, unless you are heading to the Moon or that Hot Tub Time Machine movie), so make sure you make the most out of it. We all know how it works - the most perfect candidate always pops up from the most unexpected source. Just make sure they don't tell your boss they've met you at the annual swingers' convention.
No matter how much you like your work, there will always be times when you'd want to escape and do something unconventional during business hours. Luckily, modern day technology and people's mindset can easily make it happen. So why not reach productivity goals while rowing a boat in the Hamptons instead of dragging the day with trips to the office water cooler.