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Workshifting from the ICU

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Did you know that hospitals have great wifi?

Granted, a hospital is a weird place to workshift. But it can be done. Of course, I don’t recommend a steady dose of it, because it tends to mean that you or someone you love is stuck in one. In my case: my mom. Without delving into the details, suffice it to say she was in the ICU for a week and in the hospital for two.

I’ve written in the past about how to avoid work pitfalls when you get sick. When someone close to you is in the hospital, however, you have to adjust to that, too. It’s just not in the same way.

Here are my 5 tips for workshifting from the ICU:

  1. Assess the Limitations. As workshifters, we’re used to typing away in unusual venues and talking business in sub-optimal places. I even initiated a client call once when I was in a bar (disclosure: I was hosting an event, and I did give the client a heads up about the timing). But the ICU is not a place where you should be making or taking phone calls.

  2. Give Clients (or Bosses) a Heads Up. Clients don’t need (or want) the nitty gritty details, but they do need to know your schedule’s in some flux. I was supposed to be setting up interviews for one project; we negotiated what had to be done and what could be postponed a week. (It helps to have great clients.)
  3. There’s a Human “Need to Know,” Too. It’s useful for clients and bosses to know your head isn’t fully in the game. It’s okay. We’re human, and it happens. We just have to share that fact with other people from time to time.
  4. Think Pen and Paper. There were enough machines in the ICU without my computer to get in the way. I used a pen and paper to draft several blog posts and work on some client stuff.
  5. Books Are Good. I had a book review to write, which meant a book to read. The ICU is a quiet place to catch up on reading. I also used my Google Reader app to skim through posts on my Droid.

Yes, I did put the wifi to good use–after my mom was moved to a regular medical ward. (She’s now back home recovering.) And I discovered that the cafeteria serves a good breakfast, making me wonder if it might be a good place to hang out and get some work done in the future. That is, if I hadn’t already decreed that my family should boycott hospitals for a while.

Where’s the craziest place you’ve workshifted lately?

Photo Credit: nerissa’s ring

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Daria Steigman is the founder of Steigman Communications. She is a business and marketing strategist, and a writer, and works with companies, associations, and international organizations to put in place smart communications strategies to support your goals and objectives. Read more at www.steigmancommunications.com.