Embracing an agile approach to work

Embracing an agile approach to work.

Who needs a break – some time away? The answer is almost definitely all of us, especially given the last couple of years! However, in these times of easy connectivity, do we really get to leave work behind?

In our experience, it is all about boundaries and scheduling. If it is truly to be a holiday, it’s critical to stick to the boundaries you have set and not let work blend in. It has been proven that time away from work really does improve productivity.

In an ideal world, we should leave anything to do with work behind and shut down completely. However, that is not always possible. Is there something we can learn from the agile ways of working many of us have adjusted to during the pandemic that helps us fulfil essential client commitments while “out of the office”?

Recently we faced a dilemma. My family and I were fortunate enough to take a well-earned break over Easter and spend time travelling around Northern Europe for two weeks in our campervan. However, one of our regular clients had scheduled a virtual event that they required us to produce during our absence.

What should we do? The client was very keen to work with us, and we had built up a good rapport and were keen not to put this at potential risk.

I made an enquiry with the property we were planning to stay at the time of the proposed event, regarding their set-up. They informed me that the strength of their broadband (both upload and download speeds) was actually stronger than where we are based in South East London and that their set-up was more than adequate for my needs. So, with this knowledge, I agreed with the client we would be in a position to produce and moderate their event for them, but also let them know the circumstances, as I would need to make sure that I had everything I needed from them earlier than normal, so that I could be fully prepared before I left on our trip.

The client provided me with all the information we needed and I was able to carry out all the preproduction of branding and testing of media to ensure that it was all as the client required and working within their created production schedule.

Additionally, I set up a backup producer in case of any issues (something we always do). I need not have worried!

I then created the list of equipment needed which included, a standalone Web Cam, Stream Deck, Headset, 10m long ethernet cable and of course a powerful Laptop. I then packed it away safely, so that it was out of my mind until I needed it.

When we checked in at our accommodation, I set up and tested everything again, just to be sure.

So there I was, 24 hours later, sitting at a dining table in an Airbnb basement flat in Denmark and I am delighted to say everything ran smoothly. Afterwards, all work equipment was packed up again safely and put away for the rest of the trip!

I will admit that the phone is these days a near impossible item to manage. I will also admit to selling more work whilst away, but wherever possible stuck to my need for a break.

As a result, I am delighted to say we had a great time on our trip and due to all the preparation, I only spent four hours in two weeks away on scheduled work. It proved to be a great experiment, embracing a more agile mindset and harnessing the power technology now gives us, which I look forward to repeating!

I appreciate that for many it is not easy to put in place boundaries around their work, especially with the connected world we now live in. However, wherever possible if you can do so it helps to recharge and re-evaluate.

So, following my experience what is my advice?

  • Schedule the work for a specific time, not a flexible space. This includes any pre-work you may have to do to ensure a successful outcome. Try and stick to it.
  • Make sure that all those involved are aware that you will be travelling so that they are prepared to provide you with anything you need before you go. If there is any follow-up work, where possible schedule it for your return. (Unless in extreme circumstances it can’t wait.)
  • Make a checklist of all the equipment you will need to take with you to ensure you can work in the environment you will find yourself in. Call ahead if you need to.
  • If applicable carry out a “pre-departure” test on any tech or media being used. This means you don’t have to take time to create last minute changes.

Please note that whilst I am focusing on those who are going on holiday, this equally applies to those who are travelling in general. Preparation, where possible and boundaries, are the key, and make sure those you have to interact with understand your circumstances.

If you would like to know more about our production services for virtual events, please have a read of the following page.  

James Hasler and Rebecca Hill are both principal consultants at HaslerHill Consulting, an organisation specialising in moderationfacilitation and curation of events, as well as presentation skills and public speaking skills training. You can contact us via the HaslerHill Consulting contact page or call +44(0) 7773 229909.

The picture accompanying this post is of a Lego waterfall in the Lego House in Billund Denmark. Somewhere we were lucky enough to visit as part of our trip mentioned. What an “Agile” place that is to work and play!



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