Coach Dan teaches you to manage work in a virtual office. He gives tips on productivity, how to work with others in a virtual environment and teaches you when to call it a day when your work is done. Learn to discipline yourself to work from a virtual office following these tips:
- Use technology to boost efficiency
- Working with others in a virtual world
- Positive and negative aspects of working in a virtual environment
- When you need to call it a day
All of us can now work from anywhere with a laptop and some great Internet connectivity. I recall the day when a friend called me urgently to seek my advice when she heard that their firm had decided to close their physical office and have everyone work from home. This was a shocker for my friend who had been working with a trade association for 15 years and always loved her morning latte, gossip with her co-workers and a great start wishing her boss Good morning.
The decision came sooner than expected. One fine morning the firm announced their decision to sell off the physical space, cash in on a booming real estate market and add it to the company’s coffers. So, everyone in the 10-employee business now had to work from home. She said she would miss her routine stops at Starbucks, the good morning wishes to her boss and all those water cooler conversations. She fretted about working on Skype, co-workers in pajamas and a virtual life.
For any knowledge worker, this is the norm. Got talent? Sell your skills from anywhere. My first advice to you if you intend to start working virtually is to set up an environment that will help you discipline yourself to do great work. Working virtually offers several advantages including the absence of rush hour traffic, better productivity and of course some tax deductions. Set up your virtual office in an area of your home that is free from distractions and consider it a sacred place for you to do serious work.
Next, make your office purchase good technology for you. By this, I mean computers that actually connect to the Internet and phones that allow you to talk well. If your firm is scrimping on technology, tell them clearly that this will impact your productivity and will not allow you to collaborate with workers in a shared environment. As always, define clearly what you plan to do for the day and set expectations with your co-workers as well. This will make them feel wanted and they will understand when and how to seek help. Once your goals for the day are defined and you know what tasks to accomplish, collaboration in a virtual world is pretty simple and straightforward. Tools like Google Hangouts and Skype enable us to see each other, share desktops, edit content and share ideas in ways that we could never imagine a few years ago. And, most of them are virtually free and are designed to enhance your productivity. Take some time to play around with these tools and I guarantee you that you will soon be an expert!
My next piece of advice to you is about the positive and negative aspects of working in a virtual environment. I’m sure you’d all have heard about what Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo! did when she took over the helm of the company. Well, she stopped telecommuting for a lot of tech workers and asked them to come to their offices. This was because a lot of them were doing stuff remotely but not collaborating well.
Remember, the greatest disservice you can do to your employer is to misuse their trust they have given to you to work in a virtual environment. So, be ethical, keep your time sheet and do great work. Otherwise, taking your dog to a walk during office Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram will all lead to missed deadlines and sloppy work. One day, you will be caught and this will ruin your career and your life. Remember, the most positive aspect of working in a virtual office is to have the opportunity to create your own workplace and determine your destiny doing fabulous work.
Finally, please don’t try to be the 24×7 virtual office worker. Call it a day when your work is done and shut your computer as you would do in a physical space owned by your employer. This will help you keep sanity, focus on things for the moment for your family and also offer you time to rest, relax and unwind. If you are looking to coach your employees on managing time and how to work in a virtual space, I am always eager to help you.