How Soma's "Work from Anywhere" Week Boosts Productivity

Soma founder Mike Del Ponte wanted to give his employees the opportunity to choose their perfect work environment, so he started a "work from anywhere" week which occurs once a quarter. While Del Ponte initially assumed productivity would dip because of outside distractions, employees were actually more productive—they wanted to get their work done quickly and enjoy their freedom for the rest of the week.

Set the Ground Rules for Working from Anywhere

  • Determine the goals for the week. This week should be focused on drawing inspiration to use towards a product or idea. Del Ponte encouraged his employees to change their scenery by traveling—experiencing a new culture, for instance, helped the design team improve their product to have more global appeal.
  • Set up time expectations. Employees can also choose their own hours, but they're asked to do some advanced planning, blocking off time in their calendar and identifying what they'll accomplish in the time allotted. In addition, they should do some basic recon about their location to make sure they can work: nothing derails productivity like getting to a coffee shop to work and finding out they're no Wifi.
  • Overcommunicate with the rest of the team. Make sure it’s clear who will be working on what. (If it’s solo work, manage expectations by letting the rest of the team know what you’re planning to accomplish and when you expect to be done.) Don't forget to alert others in the organization know about availability so they’re not left wondering why the team isn't responding right away.

Takeaway: For teams that are used to working in an office setting, getting to work from anywhere might take some adjusting to. With proper planning and communication, though, a work from anywhere week can boost productivity while providing new sources of inspiration.

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