work holiday is where you leave your home and travel to a new place – with the intention of both working and exploring the world at the same time.

This recipe is not for the traveler who is always on the go, or for the person who only works in one place. It’s for those of us who are exploring the world while working. It’s the ultimate experiment in work-life fusion!

Over the last few work holidays, I’ve put together a recipe for working on the go. And of course, I’m still experimenting and improving.
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20140618_121149(0) copyLast night, from the comfort of my home in the Netherlands, I beamed in to Las Vegas where Suitable Technologies had a booth at the InfoComm conference. Their last newsletter asked for people who wanted to “party with the beam”. And since Collaboration Superpowers is hosting a Beam Pro that will allow people to beam in to the Spark The Change conference in London, I wanted to see what the experience was like for myself.

At 21.00 my time (12.00 Las Vegas time), I logged into my Beam application, clicked Connect, and voila! Vegas, baby! I was immediately in the Suitable Tech booth with other Beam Pro-ers and conference attendees. I rolled around a bit and got used to driving – and then another Beam Pro approached me. It was one of their staff who was beaming in from Palo Alto.

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Inspired by the stylish outfits of my collaboration partner, Gretchen Wegner, I challenged myself to get out of my comfy clothes, and dress up for 30 days to attempt to answer the questions:

  • Does dressing up matter when we work remotely?
  • To what extent does it affect our psyche?
  • In what ways does it affect how people interact with us?
  • Does it affect our productivity?

So for 30 days, I wore 30 different “outfits” and observed what happened next.

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Camping GrimselblickAfter the first successful work holiday, Florian and I decided to try a new experiment. This time, we wanted to take things to a more minimal level, asking “Can we go deeper into the mountains and still get work done? Do we need to be in a city, or can we still work from a small village?

There’s a place in Switzerland we’ve been to often enough where we know the owners. We knew they had a small cabin we could use with decent internet. So we emailed them in advance, described what we were trying to do. They responded with “Come on over!”

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Meeting in virtual_BeamPROA few weeks ago, Elinor and I had the opportunity to test drive the Beam Pro from Suitable Technologies. It’s a robot that you can drive around using the arrow keys on your computer keyboard and interact with people – all from the comfort of your own home (or wherever your computer is). The technology is called “telepresence“, and it ROCKS!

After downloading the software and logging in, Elinor (who was on a Hangout with me at the time) and I found ourselves in a Beam Pro staring into an empty room in Lyon, France – and feeling a little intimidated to just go drive around (we were 15 minutes early for our meeting with Jérémie Koessler from Awabot).  Jérémie must have heard me and Elinor giggling because he soon came into the room to say hello.

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Today is the beginning of a 30 Day Try-on-athon where I try to answer the question: How do the clothes we wear affect our productivity as remote workers?

You can track the progress here!

DAY 1: Me

I felt more professional during my meetings throughout the day – probably because I could see myself as I was meeting with people (via Skype and Hangout). As remote workers we see ourselves in ways that most people don’t get a chance to see.

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Work Holiday Lisette SutherlandWhile I do all of my work “remotely”, most of my time is spent working from just a few places: my house, my partner Florian‘s house, or the train. I’ve had time to perfect each space to be productive for my needs. For the last ten days, Florian and I decided we wanted to try working entirely somewhere else. We chose Switzerland because it’s our favorite place to go on vacation.

The experiment was to see what it was like working from an entirely new location – while playing in the mountains as much as possible.

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Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a conference in a virtual world with AgileBill Krebs and Elinor Slomba. We started by meeting in Elinor’s virtual office in Sococo and then we headed over to Second Life to attend part of the Virtual Worlds: Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference.

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Sqwiggle Remote Work ExperimentYesterday, I hosted my first group remote working session where people from Vancouver, California, and Spain joined me (in the Netherlands) for 2 hours to work together, remotely, from home. I decided to host this session with Sqwiggle because I’ve already used Hangouts and Skype extensively, and Sqwiggle seemed like an interesting product with nice people behind it.

I knew everyone on the call except one person (thanks to all my RAD friends for signing up!) – but almost none of the others had met before.

In the screenshot, Kristin and Dave have a blue tint which indicates they’re having a conversation together (and Kristin is showing off her breakfast that she’s still eating at NOON – a benefit of remote working ;). The rest of us are working in “presence mode” which means we’re muted and working (the software takes a snapshot of our image every 10 secs).

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