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!
Tagged: Chicago, Communication, Conference Calls, Flexibility, Live Meeting, Manhattan, Teams, Technology, Telecommuters, Trust, Understanding, Working Virtually
Nicely written, Alex! As you know, I work out of my home office. While it was an adjustment at first, I’ve grown to really enjoy being the captain of my own ship. One of the more important aspects of working from home is focus. There can be a ton of distractions, but if you keep the mindset that you are working and this isn’t your “home,” per se, you can make it work.
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts Jason! I agree, it does require a great deal of focus, something I’ll probably have to get used to when and if I work from home consistently. I feel like you can get a lot more done at home too. Thanks again!
Working from home has been such a change with a lot of challenges for me personally. But it has its perks too–working in sweats, no commute, being home at 5:30!
There are absolutely a bunch of pros and cons to working at home. It’s always an adjustment too. Thanks for reading!!
Alex, I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on the adjustment coming right out of school. We’ve hesitated on hiring someone right out of school because we’re afraid the virtual nature of our business is too much of an adjustment. What do you think?
Thank you so much for reading and reaching out. It absolutely was an adjustment for me. I was very much used to working with my team and supervisors in person almost daily. For it to work well, there needs to be a mutual understanding between the recent graduate and his or her team. My team knew I needed to adjust and learn more about the technology they use. In the same respect, I understood that my team was busy and couldn’t always get on the phone with me to explain things. It took some self-motivation to figure things out on my own but that was the best way to learn. Also, once I met my team in person, it made communicating virtually so much easier. You understand the person better. Hope this helps and please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. Thanks again!