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Workshifting in Cowboy Boots

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I sat down recently for coffee with a man who quickly informed me that he once hiked along the Great Wall in a pair of cowboy boots. I followed his gaze to his feet where two travel-worn boots were cooling beneath the table. I knew right then that this wasn’t going to be any ordinary conversation.

Alex Bajwa brings this down-to-earth sense of adventure to his law practice. Specializing in wills, estate planning and small business law, you might say he’s a man with a plan and a unique way of navigating the world.

He’s traveled widely- from bustling cities in China to the remote hills of Kashmir – with a cowboy hat atop his tall frame. But when he gets down to business, he keeps it local. In fact, he’s been workshifting from a home office since graduating from law school. He’s quick to point out that early workspace renditions were more multi-use rooms – his first was an “office with a bed,” then came “the dog room” and finally his wife’s “craft room” complete with pink velvet bolts of fabric.

Today Alex primarily works from a fully-fledged office in his house. He also maintains a virtual office, which provides him with a business mailing address, receptionist, access to conference rooms and other à la carte business services. With a penchant for working paperless, he scans important documents into his PC and securely stores them in the cloud. That way they are always available when he needs them, whether he’s meeting with clients in their homes or drafting contracts at his home office.

Flexibility is essential to Alex, who has designed his firm from the ground up just the way he wants it to be, determining his specialization, work times and locations. He keeps his overhead low by eliminating expensive office space, paralegal staff and unnecessary paper file storage. Packing light, so to speak, gives him a competitive edge. His rates are generally about fifty percent lower than other attorneys in the area. According to Alex, “it’s harder to justify getting a physical office today.”

Remember, this is the man who hiked the Great Wall in cowboy boots.

He explains that right now, traditional office hours at a law firm would not suit him, mostly because the obligation to report to work between fixed times would take precedence over actual output. Instead, Alex – a man who has chosen his own path and what he wears on that path – has successfully established a work routine that enables him to be highly productive while maintaining his independence and flexibility.

His advice to anyone contemplating a similar arrangement: Set up a segregated home office from the get-go.

I enjoy talking with people – particularly workshifters – about their working lives, and I continue to be impressed by the variety of jobs, personalities and working styles that are naturally accommodated by workshifting. What seems to be consistently present in those who choose the workshifting path is a strong intuitive sense of how to get work done no matter where they are, cowboy boots and all.

What commonalities among workshifters have you noticed?

Photo Credit: awyatt

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  • http://www.steigmancommunications.com Daria Steigman

    Hi Jennifer,

    You had me at “cowboy boot.” Your post poses a great question about what makes a workshifter. My first thought is “roll with the punches,” because you can’t take yourself too seriously and you definitely have to be able to adapt on the fly. 

    Now I have to ponder this question some more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tunball Tunva Jad-iem

    very good

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