Improve Your Ability to Work Independently

Remote work has become more and more widespread in today’s global economy. Independence, flexibility, and control over how you work are all part of the appeal. Working independently means working entirely on your own with little to no supervision. How do you deal with that? Here are some ways that will help.

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focus on work person writing on a notebook beside teacup and tablet computer

In the hybrid/remote world, we seek to develop working processes based on the Async-first process idea. As collaborators in a team that embraces async-first work, we become responsible for managing our work time during the non-synchronous moments. I discuss this at length in my book “The Suitcase Office.” But managing output (or better: outcome) requires organizing oneself to deliver. Being able to focus on work becomes an essential skill.

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Is the way we do note-taking during meetings killing the meeting itself? Our synchronous times are valuable. Hiding behind a laptop screen during meetings creates a barrier. And typing rather than writing makes us less effective. Time to go (lap-)topless?

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Photo by fauxels:

De COVID-19 pandemie heeft geleid tot een dramatische verschuiving in de organisatie van het werk. Voor veel organisaties betekent dit dat ze overgaan op een hybride werkmodel, waarbij sommige werknemers op afstand werken en anderen op kantoor komen. Dit kan een uitdaging zijn voor managers.

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Meeting-free days might be the first step in creating a high-performance hybrid workspace. We expect middle managers to be less the controller and more the enabler. Managing information workers means shaping the workplace with the team that allows the outcomes to be produced.

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It’s no secret that the traditional 9 to 5 job is becoming a thing of the past. With the advent of technology, information workers can now work from anywhere at any time. This has led to a rise in freelance and contract work and a trend of people working multiple jobs to make ends meet. So what’s the answer? How do we create an organizational system for this new way of life?
One possible solution is job crafting.

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A demotivated worker - quiet quitter - at his desk

When employers are afraid to fire underperformers, they risk having quiet quitters in the team. We call it Quiet Quitting when colleagues are delivering just enough work, negatively affecting other staff’s engagement.

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Men walking in a city - in between workplaces

It’s time we start with remote work as the default setup and not as an add-on to business as usual. The office is dead; long live the office(s).

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Koen Blanquart and panel members on Thuisvoordeel Launch

Last week, a few hundred people participated in person and via video stream to launch my new book: Thuisvoordeel. The first feedback also showed the need to think about our organizations in hybrid and asynchronous terms.

The past year has been at the least an experiment in organizations’ ability to adjust to ever-changing restrictions and how they interact with customers. Being able to have face-to-face interaction while optimizing the flexibility of remote workers is the new frontier in the business world. Now that the pandemic is leveling out and people are feeling comfortable returning to regular activities, there is the question of how businesses should operate now? 

Where will you be working?

Is going back to the office the best choice? Some companies seem to think so, as idolizing the traditional office space and 40-hour workweek is a standard many just won’t shake. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks, as the saying goes. But is this really what is best for your organization? Has the last year not shown the many benefits being able to work remotely offers?

Why Go Hybrid?

With a foot in each door, the compromise of a hybrid-style working environment seems an ideal solution. There are many reasons why a hybrid work model is an answer to the question of what businesses should focus on going forward. 

  1. The hybrid office model allows for the occasional and necessary in-person meeting along with the option of retreating to the office if one needs to while having the flexibility of working from home.
  2. Adapting to the hybrid style model puts an emphasis on output and productivity rather than an inventory of hours worked, forcing people to take greater ownership of projects.
  3. Office costs are significantly reduced from basic utilities to rent, insurance, and supplies as the ability to co-share space is available with a hybrid-style environment.
  4. There’s a greater ability for work-life balance that is important for overall employee satisfaction which reduces turnover and saves money in the long run.
  5. Investing in digital infrastructure and co-op workspaces is more eco-friendly than the traditional office buildings.

Looking ahead

In business, it’s important to look ahead and prepare as best you can for any bumps in the road. With globalization as the norm, the possibility of another mass pandemic is always looming overhead. The logical and possibly wisest decision of how to operate your organization is to adopt ways of working that allow for continued success if forced to work under similar restrictions again. The Hybrid model accounts for this and is the best compromise you can offer your employees.