Working online... no more commuting in traffic... nobody looking over your shoulder.... This may appear as a great solution, but working online also brings with it some pretty unique challenges.
Considers the social interactions that you get from work, for example. We get a lot of cues and direct information from working face to face with others on common projects. Through meetings with our boss, we get direct feedback in speech, but we also get some subtle physical feedback that provides useful information. The smile and nodding when you explain a new technique you are using are telling you you are on the right track even if you get questions! Working online is more monotonous, and you will have to rely more on email, icons :) and phone conversations. Besides, you may get lonely talking to your cat!
Motivation is another obvious difference: working virtually, you have to keep working even when no direct pressure is applied by your customers. Yes you have deadlines, but knowing a deadline is coming may not be sufficient to work extra hard and push yourself to be more productive.
As Virtual Worker, we may not openly admit to these pitfalls, but we know the dangers of working virtually are there. So what are the solutions? Because of all the advantages of working from home, isolated from office politics and the long commute, surely there must be solutions to these dangers lurking in the virtual work place...
Discovering and sharing of winning strategies is one of the key Mission of this site.
I really believe the world will be better as more and more people do what they like from wherever they want. Working Virtually is a Top Strategy to reduce our working carbon footprint, improve our quality of life, and, hopefully, increase our motivation and productivity.
Aside from working virtually, other strategies can really remove barriers to being more productive and happier doing it (without working 12 hour days and sacrificing the rest of your life).
Motivation and Productivity
From everything I have read on people achievement in many different domain, productivity depends to a large extent on motivation. Of course you need knowledge and skills, but these two are not sufficient to really have optimum productivity and innovation. You all noticed how hard it is to work on a project you don't like, or doing something you don't believe in.
If you are someone not motivated, but with skills and knowledge required to do the job, work will be done, time will be spent in front of the computer, but when your mind is not satisfied and feeling a deep mission, and engagement, progress will be slower and more mistakes will be done as the worker is thinking about what he will do after work, how that work can be done faster so he can go for longer breaks or longer friendly chats.
It is a well documented fact that someone motivated will work more effectively, produce more and even enjoy the satisfaction of the work. The hard part is that motivation is a personal thing, not everyone responds to the same stimulation.
The nice thing with new studies in brain imaging and workplace psychology, is that we know more about what motivates people now than we ever did !!! On top of that, there are more people working virtually than there has ever been! Surely there must be somethings we can share between all of us that would help us become better at virtual work! This can make the different between just making ends meet or having extra to take a long trip every year... and even working from over there! How is that for motivation!!! I don't know many people that would not be motivated by thinking they could be working from somewhere with better weather, a different city with a more exotic character.
Let's share how we can work virtually better: if doesn't matter if you are a top marketing gurus, a web programmer, a writer or researching online all day long, your experience is worth a lot to all of us. Come to the Strategies Group to read, share and find better tips to work better and enjoy it more. See what works for me and others, and try these strategies for yourself!
The best and most appreciated strategies will get recognition in an upcoming newsletter.