Time and productivity columnist for the NZ Herald

Robyn Pearce: Who says the office has to be in a building?

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Most of us reconcile ourselves to the fact that, once our summer holidays are over, it's time to get out of our casual clothes, off the beach or mountain and head back to the office. If or when we work away from the office, mobile working for most of us equals cranking up our laptops in whatever location we happen to be in.

For Dion Gosling and his team at Studio 106, when it was time to start work again in mid-January there was another possibility.

'Let's extend the summer feeling by shifting the office to the beach for a month,' suggested Dion.

When people asked 'Why', he replied: 'Why not!'

They fitted out a cute old retro caravan with computers, a collapsible cardboard desk, a couple of chairs, a pot plant and stools for visitors and off they went to Mission Bay, where they parked the caravan on the doorstep of a current client.

The Royal Akarana Yacht Club on Tamaki Drive has commissioned them (with Pacific Environments) to create the Akarana Marine Sports Centre.

It's not surprising that sports and community projects are a significant part of Studio 106's architectural portfolio, for Dion played national and international hockey for New Zealand for about 14 years. Just a couple of his team's notable achievements were competing at the Athens Olympics and winning Silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Many years of sports experience has given him deep insights into the needs of communities, the importance of flexibility, how to handle adversity, and intimate experience with our famous Kiwi Number 8 wire skill of working with limited resources.

All manner of time-related benefits have come from the exercise.

1. Because they were on-site they were able to relate in a very time-efficient and connected way with a major client.

2. They saw relevant things they'd previously been unaware of such as the daily flow of other users of the space, including the constant busloads of Chinese coming to click-capture the local colour. (Principle: do things differently and you expand your awareness, horizons and possibilities.)

3. At first glance the daily set up and pack down and drive down to the site each day from their 'real' office in Ponsonby Road appeared to create extra work. (This was to avoid risk of vandalism.) However, it proved to be very effective team communication and bonding time.

4. They found that shorter hours made them more focused and highly productive. (Principle: we've all heard of work expanding to fit the time available. It also works the other way - work can be compressed to fit the time available.)

5. Space can be compressed too. The main office is 95m² - they were delighted to find that they could work very effectively in 9m². (To be sure, the weather was mostly great so it was easy to sit outside and work or have client meetings.)

6. It was a practical demonstration of community. From Dion: 'Share the dream and if it's not self-serving people love to get involved.' Almost everything except their computers was loaned or donated, including the caravan from Retro Events, the desk from Refold and the signage by More Than Print.

7. Recycling and fun can go hand-in-hand. In their Ponsonby Road office they have a wall mural of one week of recycled paper which they call 'Between the Folds'. In the caravan they replicated it by sticking recycled paper on the ceiling.

8. It was an exercise in minimalism. They found they didn't need to print out anything in the whole time they were down in the caravan.

9. Because it was so different, it attracted media attention. You'd pay a lot of money for the equivalent publicity they've received for free.

Here's my question for you. How could you work differently and achieve the same or better results?

Robyn Pearce CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is known as the Time Queen. She mastered her own time challenges and now helps people around the world overcome theirs. She can show you how to transform your time challenges into high productivity and the life balance you desire. Start by downloading her free report "How to Master Time In Only 90 Seconds" at https://www.gettingagrip.com/. It's a simple yet powerful diagnostic tool to help you identify your key areas for action.

- NZ Herald

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Time and productivity columnist for the NZ Herald

For 22 years author and speaker Robyn Pearce (known by her clients as the Time Queen) has been sharing her experiences and knowledge about time management and productivity with countless clients and readers around the world as a keynote speaker, educator, coach and writer of 8 books and many hundreds of articles. She often appears as a subject specialist on television and radio. Robyn learnt her subject the hard way. Through the years of raising six kids, single parenthood and then a highly successful real estate career, time management was her biggest challenge. The good news is – she won, and now helps others find more time.

Read more by Robyn Pearce

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