"Workshifting"By Marilyn Weinstein

First and for the record, I am not much of a fan of the word, “workshifting”. Why not café-muting? Why not telecommanywhereing? I hate WorkShifting. Silly. Really.

Anyway, apparently the term is defined as the concept of “working from wherever”. Whereas “telecommuting” seems (in hindsight, to some) to imply working from “home”, workshifting implies that you can be working at your son’s soccer game, at a meeting area/café of your choice, and so on. Despite my hatred for the term, I am quite the proponent of the concept, embrace it personally and encourage my employees to do so as well. So, if you’d like to incorporate workshifting into your world, here are some helpful tips:

(1) Your phone has a Mute button. Please use it. Nothing worse than taking a conference call from a loud café and letting the participants on the other end hear all distracting sounds going on all around you. It’s rude, unproductive and likely the subject of considerable talk behind your back. Find and use your phone’s mute button.

(2) Adherence to your company’s security policies is not met simply by asking the stranger next to you to watch your laptop while you hit the loo-pool? Use good judgment with your work-issued stuff.

(3) When laptops get stolen, it costs your employer. See number 1. I realize that you have been sipping foamed coffee drinks with the stranger next to you for the better part of the last two hours, but that doesn’t really make him a trusted custodian of your company’s property. Yes, that means closing up and bringing your laptop, phone, etc. to the restroom with you.

(4) Trade secrets, IP, sensitive data must still be protected when you are out and about. If your screen can be seen by others, or if people around you can hear your conversations, then you are placing your company’s trade secrets at risk. (I’ll expand)

(5) Work harder than you would in an office. Workshifting is sometimes by an employer’s choice, but more and more often it is a product of an employee’s need for flexibility. Whichever case fits you – over deliver. We all know of the countless employers who “do not allow virtual/telecommuting employees”. We may share a gripe or two with the policies of these companies, but more than likely those employers have been burnt by nonproductive workshifters. Overcommunicate and overdeliver – at least at first.

(6) Make it less about you and more about your employer. Ask yourself, “how do my non-traditional work locations/hours add value to my employer? If you cannot come up with anything, try to. If it is not adding value, you are at risk of losing this privilege. Why not proactively address the otherwise inevitable end of this arrangement by ensuring value is being added, every hour?

(7) Be gracious and grateful. This is an awesome privilege. Try a little gratitude. It goes a long way

Marilyn Weinstein is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vivo Inc., and IT consulting and staffing business. At Vivo, Marilyn is responsible for overall strategy and business growth and development. Prior to starting iTalent Solutions in 2006—the successful effort which paved the way for Vivo’s launch in 2009—Marilyn was Vice President and General Counsel for AlphaSoft Services Corp., where she served on the company’s Executive Team for over seven years. She helped AlphaSoft grow from a start up to a $50 million per year, multi-office success story.

As a mother to three young boys, and a lawyer by trade, Marilyn claims all she really needed to learn about business she learned during her years as a bartender.