Transitioning to Remote Work From Traditional Work – What’s the Difference?

You are considering the option to join a virtual team and make the transition to working remotely – or maybe you are being asked to do so because of changes in your company/industry. Scary, right?  Well not really if you take the following tidbits of advice offered by the virtual worker community.  We’ve spoken with some amazingly talented remote workers who are generous enough to share their secrets to success (learned the hard way)!

  • First, you have to learn how to manage yourself. Trust me, it is very tempting to hit that snooze button a few extra times but you have to live by a structured schedule. Pretend your boss is waiting for you to log in (which is highly possible). Hold yourself accountable to log-in to meetings on time and contribute to make yourself heard. Remember, since they cannot see you it is easy to forget that you are on the phone so ask the right questions at the right time.
  • Second, find ways to make yourself visible in an invisible environment. Check in with your team by asking for advice and feedback. Collaboration will make you more visible and help to build a strong network.
  • Third, brace yourself, because at first, virtual work can be very lonely unless you reach out to your co-workers. Envision yourself walking through the rows of cubicles and striking up a conversation with someone in person. Then figure out if you should call, instant message, Skype, text, tweet or email that person so you can be social. Just because you are remote, doesn’t mean you can’t connect.
  • Finally, when the invisible line of work and home is hard to distinguish, it becomes easy to never stop working. Take lunch breaks, end work at a reasonable time and put down your mobile device to create the separation. In the end, while there are many differences you might find that virtual work can be just as fun and rewarding – we’ll talk more about that next time!

What’s your experience with virtual/remote work? Tell us your story!

Photo by Marília Castelli