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A Virtual Success: Best Practices for Working Remotely


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Barrie Byron & Anne Grove

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
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A Virtual Success: Best Practices for Working Remotely

  1. 1. 3/4/2011A Virtual Success:Best Practices for Working Remotelyby Barrie Byron and Ann Grove 11A Virtual Success: BestPractices for Working RemotelyPresented by Barrie Byron and Ann Grove2TopicsDefine virtual workConsider whether you have the right skillsand temperament to work remotelyAdapt your communication skills toremain visible and earn trustCreate and protect a dedicated work areaDevelop good work habits3Barrie Byron25 yearsTechnical writer15 yearsActive STCmember and leader10 yearsActive Toastmastermember and leader4 yearsVirtual success4Ann Grove10 yearsBusiness owner10 yearsActive STC member and leader12 yearsVirtual success5Virtual work by any nameWork is something that you do, not a place thatyou goVirtual work is work that is done in a locationother than the traditional on-site company officeDistance work Mobile work Telework /TelecommuteOTTO (otherthan traditionaloffice) workFlexible workarrangementWFH (Workfrom Home)e-work Remote work Virtual work6Advantages of virtual workGreater work/life balanceMore flexibility and control over workingenvironment and scheduleIncreasedproductivityReduced stressReducedcommuting costs
  2. 2. 3/4/2011A Virtual Success:Best Practices for Working Remotelyby Barrie Byron and Ann Grove 27Disadvantages of virtual workSocial isolationHome distractionsLack of boundariesReduced visibility8Are you well suited to virtual work?1-41. Are you an independent, self-starter, self-confident, and outstanding communicator?2. Can you create and meet personal productivitygoals without much external accountability?3. Can you resist temptations such as Facebookwhen bored?4. Can you commit to core work hours?9Are you well suited to virtual work?5-105. Are you comfortable working through your owntechnical issues?6. Can you easily build meaningful relationships withothers through email and phone calls?7. Do you have an area of your house, preferably witha door, that you can dedicate to your work?8. Are you willing to invest money to create acomfortable and appropriate home work space?9. Do you have a healthy respect for your companyrules regarding security?10. Can you fulfill your interpersonal communicationneeds outside of your job?10An employer’s perspectiveConsider how much easier it is for homeworkers to break these guiding ethicalprinciples (from Ann’s client):We will behave ethicallyWe will comply with applicable laws, rulesand regulationsWe will avoid conflicts of interestWe will protect company assets11Convincing your bossYour boss is not going to let you work fromhome simply because you want toUse the following information to earn theprivilege to work virtually:Present supporting researchIncreased productivity (10 to 35%)Reduced office space and parking needsLess sick timeLower turnoverDefine benefits for your specific rolePropose a trial period12Most important tipMake sure you have clear expectations foryour positionBen Franklin claimed he was successfuldue to “the precaution of having veryexplicitly settled in our articles everythingto be done by or expected from eachpartner. So there was nothing to dispute.”
  3. 3. 3/4/2011A Virtual Success:Best Practices for Working Remotelyby Barrie Byron and Ann Grove 313Best practices for virtual workMaintain high visibilityEarn trustSet up secure and appropriate work areaPractice healthy habits14Building and earning trustBe honest, be openKeep your commitments and don’t over-commitDon’t be negativeTake initiative and responsibility to createand maintain social glueActively participateBe available15Maintaining high visibilityProactively report status to your managerSelf-promoteEstablish regular one-on-one meetingsBuild relationships, face-to-face whenpossible (at least once)Work cross-functionally with other teamsPersonalize your communication: get toknow your team and your manager16Setting up your work area: securityYour company’s network is only as secureas the weakest linkDon’t be the weakest linkConsider:Physical security: At home, lock the door. Atwork, lock the laptop to the deskSecurity of printed confidential materialsElectronic securityLock your screenDo not keep your password within five feet17Setting up your work area: phoneOur approachesBarrie: TetheredAnn: Rotates between two cordless handsets,and has a tethered backupImportant features:Mute buttonGood volumeHeadset jackCaller IDSpeakerphoneRedial18Communicate, communicate,communicatePresence-awareness softwareKeep availability status accurateRespond promptlyInstant messagingUse as a substitute for business-appropriateinformal communicationTechnologyUse video conferencing, share your screen,collaborateShare files and calendars
  4. 4. 3/4/2011A Virtual Success:Best Practices for Working Remotelyby Barrie Byron and Ann Grove 419Time zones, global teamsTime zonesEffective meeting schedulesGlobal teamsDifferent days in the work weekDiversityRespect for cultureLearn communication styles20Six habits for virtual success1. Get up, get dressed, go to work2. Maintain self-discipline for start and endwork times3. Set and respect physical boundariesbetween work and home life4. Take breaks, leave the house5. Set and communicate work norms6. Outsource child and family care duringwork hours21Keep in touch!Barrie @barriebyronAnn Groveanngrove@logicalwriters.com @AnnGrove