Tips for working smarter outside of the traditional office environment - FOX 54 WZDX – Huntsville News, Weather and Sports

Tips for working smarter outside of the traditional office environment

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(ARA) - For many professionals, life in a cubicle is a thing of the past. Going into work could very well mean taking a stroll down the hall to your home office or heading to the coffee shop down the street. Employers are even moving past the cube-and-office model, and instead incorporating more common areas and ad-hoc spaces that promote collaboration and flexibility.

Today's technology allows employees to jump into a teleconference from anywhere at a moment's notice from wherever they may be, and access work documents from anywhere they can find an Internet connection. Those working from home can be responding to emails and organizing their schedules while those heading into the office might be stuck in traffic.

Companies - and those who are self-employed - are figuring out how working smarter through technology can benefit both employees and bottom lines. But for those who are used to working in a traditional office environment, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are working at peak efficiency in your flexible work environment. Mobile working experts from Plantronics, which offers a variety of products to help people adapt to this new way of working, offer these tips:

* Integrate your communications system. While every cubicle is usually outfitted with an office phone, it isn't necessarily needed in your home office anymore. With Skype, Microsoft Lync and other tools that allow you to use your computer as a phone, you can operate everything you need from one device - not to mention save on long-distance charges or cellphone usage. Plantronics offers a number of mobile headsets that provide superior audio quality that can be run through your phone and computer at the same time - all while keeping your hands free to pull up anything you might need on your computer while you chat.

* Establish a work space. While working from home might allow you the flexibility to pick your children up from school, you may also have to find ways to deal with distractions from home. Finding a place in your house where you can work without being distracted during the hours you've set for yourself can help ensure that you're as productive as ever.

* Set hours. If you're not heading into the office, the line between work and your personal life can be a little more easily blurred. Working with your employer to establish when you'll be available cannot only prevent you from overworking yourself, but also allow you to be more productive during the time you've dedicated to work.

* Embrace mobile capabilities. If you have a day full of visits with clients, you don't have to give up on accomplishing other tasks. Working with your employer to set up the ability to access your files through your mobile device or computer will allow you to work from anywhere, so you don't need to head back home or to the office between appointments.

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