When I started my job almost four months ago, I had no idea what to expect or who I’d be reporting to. Quickly I realized the person I’d be working most with (aka my boss) was located in Chicago. So this is fun, I thought. How exactly is going to work?
Coming straight from college, I’ve always interacted in person with my supervisor(s). We would communicate through email, occasionally over the phone and absolutely meet in person at least once a week. So not having my boss in the office was definitely something I wasn’t used to. But, working virtually is a way of life for most people here and in larger companies across the nation.
Most people at my company are telecommuters, which means they work from their home office most of the time. Some people split time between their home and work offices while others come into NYC everyday. It is more of a personal preference and thankfully, my company is flexible in letting employees work from home. Not having my direct supervisor in the office has been an adjustment for me but here’s why it works.
- Technology: Conference calls and live meetings are an integral part of life here. We have the ability to conference several people into a call at once. Live meeting allows people to share their computer screen’s in order to explain a document to their audience. This visual aid makes training new employees so much easier. We rely heavily on these tools and others to help us feel like we’re all in the same room.
- Understanding: Most of my team is in Chicago, which is an hour behind me here in Manhattan. We all are conscious of the time difference when scheduling meetings and are very understanding of each other’s schedules. Some of us get to work earlier while others stay later. Being aware of everyone’s schedules and best times of productivity is a key factor is our team’s efficiency.
- Trust: My boss does not need to see me to know I am doing my work. Similarly, her boss doesn’t need to see her to know she’s working..super hard I might add. Of course, there will be some situations when employees must come into the office. But, on the whole, there is a level of trust between supervisors and their team. Because of this, there is more flexibility in where people work from.
Last week, Spin Sucks published an article about working from home versus working at the office. The article cited pros and cons to each, but studies found it came down to the ability to focus. Whether my boss is sitting behind me or sitting in Chicago, I have to keep myself motivated and focused on the task at hand. Limiting distractions is the biggest factor into staying focused. For more tips, check out the Spin Sucks article here.
I have learned that having a virtual team and office can be just as rewarding and productive as having your team right in front of you. It’s been a great way to improve my communication skills as well. Do you work virtually? Is it a challenge? Let me know!