Daily Thoughts

Does being a virtual worker impact your career path?

February 20, 2015 1

This is a big question that I often ponder on. I would love for the answer to be “No” and I did always believe that when the company I worked for was 100% remote. Everyone in the company worked remotely and we had mastered communication and success as a company without sitting next to each other. People were able to get promoted. We felt like we had mastered the best of both worlds. Working from home and having a career. Now take a merger with another company, that is great and wonderful, but was mostly men at the time. While they accepted our remote working and saw that we were successfully they were still skeptic of it. I think over the last few years we have proven 100 times over that what we do is awesome. We have grown our side of the business tremendously, our team has grown and yet are we still the outsiders? Are we still the “other company”? There are many days I sit at my desk and think “I am a valuable employee” and “Our team is doing great”. However, I do think that when you are not in the office you are forgotten. You can’t advocate enough for your team because your face is not there. While you get the “yes’s” and the “we are definitely working to help ya’ll out” are they really.

Does out of site, out of mind impact your career?

I am really starting to feel that when you are working for a growing company that face time does make the world of difference. Don’t get me wrong, can I do anything I need to sitting at my desk at home, absolutely! It is all mental, stereo type that someone needs to see you. Is my work not enough? The best of both worlds would be a split schedule but when you are in a whole different state than your office that gets tricky. It contradicts all the reasons that I work from home. Lately, I feel like my work and my unit are impacted because I don’t sit in the office and smile at my desk, drink the kool-aid so to speak. I see my brother in law crossing this bridge too with working with a start up company. Does he take the risk and relocate his whole family to a new place all so that they can see his face while he works? It all seems silly. I don’t always think that I need to be there. Some days I feel like they hear me and they listen and then other days I feel like saying WTH. A prime example, recently we started having these manager meetings. So the meeting starts and my boss pings me and asks why I am not calling in and that she is covering for me. I look at my calendar and I have nothing there. I feverishly digging through emails, stressing out, only to find out that I was never invited. Out of site, out of mind. Yet is that an X against me, probably. Or the fact that there are several meetings that impact technology for my team but I am never included on them. Out of site out of mind. Will it ultimately impact me and my career?? I have no clue but I do know that I am loyal, hard working and do more than I ever did when I sat in the office. So seeing my brother in law stress about this life changing decision, I just want to scream, GO!! Don’t let it impact your dreams and your goals. Yet on the flip side, as a remote worker who truly believes that you can do anything and more from home, I want to say fight for keeping your position remote, prove to them your talent and worth. Which way is right, guess that depends on what each day holds.

Some days I feel deflated, some days I feel successful, some days I feel like going back to bed, and some days I just want to run….


There is 1 comment

  • Greg says:

    Working on a distributed team is tough, and makes it all the reason to strengthened communication skills where needed to ensure the ball remains rolling forward and in the direction you want it to go in.

    With all the connectivity between, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and dare I say it … Skype, and a dozen of other user friendly applications, virtually bridging off site employees and teams is as easy as walking into someone’s cube, we should feel confident that working remote is the way business has been conducted and will be conducted moving forward.

    Funny, no matter how much technology advances to make the physical world feel smaller and easier to do business “anywhere” sometimes people need the reinsurance of being able to walk into your office, cube or desk to sit down and express an idea, or just chat it up.

    I personally feel all can be achieved without being on site, it just depends if you’re the type of person to keep that line of communication an open door policy. Make yourself available for the owners, team and clients even if it’s just to let off a couple of rounds of brainstorming or the water cooler shits and giggles, a few minutes of online FaceTime goes along way. The more accessible the more the comfort zone expands and people view you as a another office mate. I say in a few more years as more millennials take head of these older companies and start ups expand their bandwidth working remote will be seen and treated as the norm.

    My wife says I work more now then I have when I was a commuter. Well let’s look at the actuals to see why – I now have an additional 4 hours extra a day to get things done not wasted driving, and with the additional time and flexibility of being home, I have more time to devote to family and having an actual “Balance” has increased my overall happiness as a result I’m more eager and driven to work. My performance has tripled along with my interpersonal and communication skills from working remotely.

    Here are a few key points to making the long distance relationship work:

    1. Be in the business of communicating effectively and efficiently, ask the right questions that drill down to the core because there isn’t the luxury of just walking into someone’s office from an after thought. So less time is spent having to reiterate and by asking the right questions less time is wasted trying to understand the requirements and goals of a task.

    2. Host daily, bi-daily or weekly retros to get feedback from the team and include the owner(s) if possible so everyone can express what they felt didn’t work, so as a team, everyone is working out action items to improve where needed so the following week same mistakes and breaks in comm aren’t happening.

    3. 15 minute Daily stand ups for todos and think-tank often via online FaceTime chats are of value – it keeps off site employee in mind and everyone is in pocket with what the tasks are.

    4. No brainer – Double check your calendar make sure reminders are set for all invitees and having a buddy system is clutch so everyone is included.

    5. Have a water cooler channel for everyone to dump random thoughts, small talk and the random gifs of epic fails to showcase IMs aren’t just for business but for socializing when appropriate. Slack chat does this and can integrate most desk top apps like drop box, google docs, hangouts and google drive so things are constantly being fed down the pipeline.

    We’re not drones we’re human and feeling the work love is essential to building a solid team offsite. I feel career driven people will succeed regardless if the work is done on or off site it all depends on the person, level of motivation and the company’s support system and communication.

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