Management March 6, 2018 74 Reads share

5 Ways to Get Your Employees Out of the Office

It wasn’t too long ago that business schools taught employees the importance of never leaving before the boss. It wasn’t that long ago that hunkering down at your desk before the office opened and staying at your desk long after the office closed was considered admirable and worthy of a promotion.

Today, things are different. Today, more businesses have found benefit in getting team members away from the confines of the office. Employees’ productivity increases. Their happiness levels increase too, making them more loyal to the company. There’s a direct benefit to your business when you give your team members freedom.

The question isn’t whether you should let your team members escape the office. The question is rather, how can you encourage your employees to leave their desk and take a more modern approach to work? Here are a few suggestions.

#1. Schedule Team Events

Getting out of the office should feel rewarding to your team. When you schedule team events, such as a happy hour after a long project is complete or a beach day when the weather gets warm, you show your team that you value them as people.

These trips away from the office work as team building experiences too. They allow you to learn each other’s communication styles, get to know what motivates each other, and discover new sides to each other that might not have been uncovered in an office setting.

The key to having team events is to ensure as many people are there as possible. To do this, put your team events on your schedule so your staff has something to look forward to and can plan to be there, even if the event is after working hours.

#2. Force Time Off

Do you have an employee who resists taking time off? There tend to be a few culprits in every office. These people hoard vacation days so that they don’t miss out on any work. They fear taking time off because they worry it’ll put them too far behind on a project. There’s just one problem with this. Hanging around the office is a recipe for burn out. Productivity decreases. Morale plummets. It’s not healthy for anyone.

The reality is, some people need to be forced to take time off. If you want to save your employee’s sanity and inspire a more productive office, forcing time off can be a healthy leadership move.

#3. Allow Employees to Work From Home

Working remotely a few times per month can boost productivity, according to a survey by CoSo Cloud, which found that 77% of respondents reported greater productivity when working off site. Still, despite it’s dramatic increase in popularity, many employers worry about allowing employees to take their work with them away from the office.

Many fear that they won’t be able to know with certainty that their employee is working. This concern is easily resolved by using chat apps, such as Voxer or Slack.

Many others fear that teams won’t know when an employee is at work and available for collaboration. This worry is solved by using online scheduling apps, such as ScheduleBase.

Still, some managers are concerned about security of their business intelligence. By requiring the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can keep your data secure regardless of location.

There are many answers to common concerns with today’s technology, which makes now the best and easiest time to give your team freedom to work where they feel most productive – even if it’s just a few days a month.

#4. Hold One-on-One Team Meetings Off Site

You know what’s easy? Calling an employee into your office for a brief meeting for a performance review or project discussion. Although convenient, you might be more productive by hopping in the car with that employee and going to a local coffee shop.

When people break away from the confines of an office, they’re more likely to open up. If you’re talking about a sensitive topic, such as poor performance, or if you need a dose of creativity to spice up your project, getting away from the walls of your office can help.

#5. Meeting With Clients in a Coffee Shop

It’s tempting to want to meet with clients at your office. After all, you have the technology you need at your office to show presentations or pull up quick information. Still, taking these meetings with clients off site can actually have a positive impact on your team’s ability to build the relationship.

By separating yourself from the office, you break into a different cognitive level with your client. This means, you might be able to hear a different perspective than you would if you met in your office or in theirs. This natural expansion in the conversation lends itself to better productivity. Your team will be able to pull out new selling points to use to deepen the relationship, making your client more loyal and devoted to you.

Coffee shop meetings, specifically, are a healthy alternative. Not only are they cheaper on the expense report but they also lend themselves to being quick and productive. Unlike lunch meetings, you don’t have to wait for a waitress to take your order and spend an hour eating a full meal with the client. You can keep the meeting shorter, showing that you respect the client’s time. Because these meetings tend to be quick, it’s easier to get the client to agree to meeting with you.

How Are You Encouraging an Escape From the Office?

In today’s technology fueled world, it’s easier than ever for your team to break free from the confines of the desk and conference room and work from somewhere else. The increased productivity that comes along with this new way of working is a win for your business too. So, the question becomes. What are you doing to encourage your team to leave the office?

Jon Forknell

Jon Forknell

Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine's Top 500 Software Companies 2004-2007 and again in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

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