professional nomads – recommendation #1

natexheaderChances are if you work from home a lot and travel for business, you book a fair amount of train tickets.  I was recommended the National Express site by pal and fellow collocator, Stephen Waddington last week and it seems great.  There was far more availablity that Trainline, lower prices and it seemed a lot more flexible about changing tickets etc (although i have yet to try the latter).

My rating: ****

commuting essentials – your top 3?

Katie Moffat (aka dropped me and fellow colocator- Wadds – a line this week to ask about the three most essential tools for long commutes/home working.

It got me thinking as Wadds and I have been discussing the things you need two of and the stuff you have to cart around just to make travelling more bearable.

My top 3 essentials for a long commute (excluding laptop) would be:

– Dongle (service varies, check the coverage maps, especially if you are travelling out to the sticks like I am)

– Decent mobile device (phone/blackberry/games and ipod/touch or combined as you’ll need tunes, podcasts etc to while away those hours

– Memory stick plus avid use of gmail (I am a nightmare for being in the wrong place with the wrong file)

I think as time goes on, services like Huddle will become essentials for the remote worker/colocator as it combines document storage with social networking and will soon include IM and teleconferencing….I see these tools eventually becoming the long espoused “virtual office” that you can dip into at any time.

Anyone else like to share their top 3?

flexible working…5 must haves

Had a lovely breakfast the other morning with my pal and ex-colleague, Stephen Waddington who, like me, has recently opted for the co-location lifestyle and moved to the wilds of Northumberland.  He is continuing to run Rainier PR with Steve Earl in London.

Unsurprisingly, a large part of the conversation was about flexible/remote/home working with both of us comparing notes about the benefits and pitfalls of being out of (and indeed in) the office.

Anyway, I had been meaning to start something about the traits you need to be a good homeworker and make this strategy work for you in the long term so thanks to Stephen for giving me the renewed focus and here goes……

5 must haves for flexible workers

Respect from clients and staff about working practices – it has to be part of the fabric of the agency….jibes about working from home or trying to cover up flexible work arrangements to clients is a strategy bound for failure – be proud of your agency’s attitude; don’t try to cover it up – people want to work for an agency that embraces and encourages flexible working, not one that merely tolerates it

A flexible attitude – there are times when you just have to be at a meeting in person or in the office. Regular office visits are good for team and individual anyway as they keep you in touch and provide a chance to catch up in person

The right skills – namely, talent, experience and focus.  Flexible working does not work in all cases, people need to be integrated into the agency and spend a period of time getting to know staff, clients and the agency’s culture, in order to work in the expected way.

Individuals need to take responsibility for networking and socialising either where they live or making an effort to attend company socials. The increase of social media and networks has made it much easier for home workers to stay in touch, do business out of hours, attend events/lectures through podcasts and keep up to date with the industry

Trust. Your work needs to speak for itself. Clients need to want to work with you, teams need to feel they can approach you and respect the way you work and your boss needs to trust you.

I am going to tag some other people in the PR industry to see if they have any thoughts to add. Over to you Stephen, David, Will, Jonathan, Ged and Paul.