Mobile Working — What’s the big deal?

Image Credit: Trello Blog

Ahead of the GoodWork Society event we’re co-hosting with partners, Wednesday 7 Feb, Inquisition thought it apt and necessary for our team to experience work mobility first-hand and log our findings.

The GWS’ first event for the year will discuss and unpack the role of workforce mobility in good work, with a host of varied expert panelists from areas such as interior architecture, workspace design, group facilities and business development for residential sectors.

Below, you’ll find an overview of the experiment from all our team members, as well as advantages and disadvantages of working remotely or on the go.

Team Recaps of Working Mobile & Remotely

While the team agreed that it was a great experiment, the learnings leaned both ways; both beneficial and detrimental.

The experiment saw a shift in how we thought about work: how, when and where it can happen.

The week’s experiment, like anything new, started out positive with high levels of energy and productivity, but took a quick dive with fluctuating spirits and output as the week progressed and we became more and more isolated from each other.

Our communication saw an increase in frequency and efficacy, being more transparent than usual, likely due to a need to band together in each others’ absence.

The team felt destabilised in lieu of a rhythm or routine and found themselves questioning whether there’s a task they should be getting to or if they’re missing a meeting.

Our team rotated spaces between home, gym and coffee shops, for the most part, with the inclusion of a co-working space called Perch, where we’ll be hosting our first event for the year.

Following our overview, here’s what worked, what didn’t and what we’d like to try next time for improved results.

What Worked

- No traffic, which meant more time for a work and life balance 
- Not pushing through unproductive slumps and taking a break when needed
- Persistent, open communication on Slack and email, even a few calls
- Less money spent on commuting and food for the day
- Deep work encouraged by time and freedom of space
- Control over individual environments

What Didn’t

- Getting adequate exercise was a mixed result for our team, with some finding themselves more motivated or having more time, with others skipping out entirely
- The same goes for eating: some ate more healthily than usual, not having “quick fixes” to succumb to while others forgot to eat completely, not having social cues to signal them
- On the bad days, severe feelings of isolation
- Non-anticipated distractions at home, worsened by a lack of structure
- Not having a team to think with, and the lack of real conversation, made the work feel less energising than it usually does

For Vince, it was simple: He hated it.

To Try Next Time for Improved Results

- Start the day with music — silence is deafening when you work alone
- Balance remote and in-office/team time (30/70)
- Alternate with co-working spaces
- Design breaks into daily routine
- Be more mindful of slumps and peaks and how the spaces we’re in contribute to both
- Defining when you’d like to be contacted or not disturbed
- Have meetings via video or voice
- Have status meetings periodically

What’s the big deal?

From the experiment we can confirm that our office ought to have dedicated spaces for individuals to do deep work and invest in ways to sustain and enable healthier work lifestyles, i.e. smoothies at lunch time, or showering facilities so we can support active lifestyles.

Humans are a social species and we all found ourselves missing interaction with our team members almost immediately. Tone gets lost in text and without the dynamic, collaborative environment we’re normally used to, we find ourselves excited for the week ahead, where we’ll be reunited and able to share ideas and banter in a more natural way.

While mobile working has its benefits, and work can take place anywhere without skimping on quality, we concluded that our team enjoys working with others. The odd mobile working day won’t go amiss, though, and we’ll continue experimenting and adapting what works for us post-GWS event.

The Role of Workforce Mobility in GoodWork

Piqued your interest?

Join The GoodWork Society’s first, free event for the year! Book your seat by following the event link and reserving a ticket.

Venue: Perch Co-working Office Space
Date: Wednesday, 7 February 2018
Time: 18:00–21:00
Address: 37 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg