Escape the 9 to 5 Rut With a Virtual Office

If you ask people where they go when they really need to get work done, very few will respond “the office.” If they do say the office, they’ll include a qualifier such as “super early in the morning before anyone gets in” or “I stay late at night after everyone’s left” or “I sneak in on the weekend.”

What they’re trying to tell you is that it is hard to actually get work done at the office. The average office has become the last place people want to be when they really want to get work done during the day. How many Pastors actually study for Sunday in their office? Most have a home-office or office-within-the-office they retreat into.

That’s because offices have become disruption factories.

Meaningful work, creative work, thoughtful work, and important work – this type of effort takes stretches of uninterrupted time to get into the zone. But in most offices, such long stretches just can’t be found. Instead, it’s just one appointment or distraction after another.

Millions of workers and thousands of companies have already discovered the joys and benefits of working remotely.

Is it time your church considered current remote working options?


THE QUICK SUMMARY – Remote by Jason Fried and Davis Heinemeier Hansson

The “work from home” phenomenon is thoroughly explored in this illuminating new book from bestselling 37signals founders Fried and Hansson, who point to the surging trend of employees working from home (and anywhere else) and explain the challenges and unexpected benefits. Most important, they show why – with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo — more businesses will want to promote this new model of getting things done.

The Industrial Revolution’s “under one roof” model of conducting work is steadily declining owing to technology that is rapidly creating virtual workspaces and allowing workers to provide their vital contribution without physically clustering together. Today, the new paradigm is “move work to the workers, rather than workers to the workplace.” According to Reuters, one in five global workers telecommute frequently and nearly 10 percent work from home every day. Moms in particular will welcome this trend. A full 60% wish they had a flexible work option. But companies see advantages too in the way remote work increases their talent pool, reduces turnover, lessens their real estate footprint, and improves the ability to conduct business across multiple time zones, to name just a few advantages. In Remote, iconoclastic authors Fried and Hansson will convince readers that letting all or part of work teams function remotely is a great idea–and they’re going to show precisely how a remote work setup can be accomplished.


9 to 5 is not just the name of a cheesy but funny 1980 movie; it’s also a practice engrained into our psyche which would have us believe that only during those hours at an office can real work take place.

It’s just not true anymore.

Think about it – if any of your work requires a computer, a few files, and your brainpower, do you really need to be in an office? Could you not just as easily do the work from a coffee shop, your kitchen table, or outside on a beautiful spring day?

Taking that thought further, do you even need to be doing that work in a specified time frame?

If the results of your work are the goal, then it’s time to consider remote work.

Remote work is about setting your team to be free to be the best it can be, whenever and wherever that might be.

Embracing remote work doesn’t mean you can’t have an office; just that it’s not required. It doesn’t mean all your employees can’t live in the same city, just that they don’t have to.

Your organization is probably already working remotely without you even knowing it. When you have legal issues, you probably don’t have lawyers on staff – you outsource the work to a lawyer or a law firm. Unless your organization is large enough for a full accounting staff, you probably outsource some or all of your financial work to a CPA or accounting firm. Human resources? Marketing? Lawn Care? Custodial Services? These are just a few examples of essential business activities being performed by outside people.

Every day this kind of remote work works, and no one considers it risk, reckless, or irresponsible. So why do so many of these same organizations that trust “outsiders” to do their critical work have such a hard time trusting “insiders” to work from home?

Look around inside your organization and notice what work already happens on the outside, or with minimal face-to-face interaction. You may be surprised to discover that your company is more remote than you think.

Jason Fried and Davis Heinemeier Hansson, Remote


Conduct an “audit” of all the different types of work that goes on within your organization using the following process.

On a chart tablet, list all the work that is performed for your organization by an outside individual or group. Beside each item, write the frequency with which it is performed – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. Beside the frequency, list the primary leader in your organization responsible for overseeing that work.

On a second chart tablet, list all the remaining work that is performed in your organization. As before, list both frequency and primary leader by the item.

As a team, review the work done inside your organization, and list up to 10 items that could conceivably be done remotely or outsourced. At this point, you are simply capturing ideas, not working out all the details.

Discuss the list of 10, and come to a consensus of which is most important by ranking them from 1 to 10.

Continuing that discussion, take the top three and list what it would take for that item to be moved from being accomplished onsite during specific hours to offsite or outsourced. Take the necessary steps to make it happen.

After three months, evaluate those three items; adjust as needed. Chose the next three times on the original list of 10, and repeat the process.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 67-2, issued May 2017


Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.


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