Telecommuting, virtual teams and remote work have many advantages for organizations and productivity. At the same time virtual workers often have concerns about their lack of recognition and visibility since they aren’t seen at the office every day.
What many don’t realize is fewer opportunities means more control over perceptions.
When you work in the office, people see you every day. They see you when you didn’t get much sleep, when you got stuck in traffic, and when you have a seasonal cold. They see you when sick, crabby, tired and anxious.
Wise virtual workers ensure that everyone who interacts with them stays positive about them and their work by controlling how they present themselves.
When you work virtually, you can show up in every interaction, positive and professional.
- On the phone: Before you answer the phone, take a minute to breathe, smile and choose a positive vocal tone.
- If you must have uncomfortable conversations over the phone, (better than via email!) you can prepare notes in advance scripting exactly how you want to communicate the message. And you can read those rehearsal notes while on the call.
- You can also listen and make notes while others are venting. Good notes mean you can reflect and show empathy toward their feelings and thoughts without eye contact or having your facial expressions and physical reactions give you away.
- Via email: Consider using the “delay delivery” setting rule on your emails for 10 minutes. This way, after you hit send you have one last chance to review or reword so you don’t regret later the tone your email communicated. (I am sure you didn’t mean it that way!)
- Video-conferences: This is my favorite. Go ahead and wear those pajama pants when telecommuting, just make sure you computer camera only shows how nice you look from the waist up.
It’s a rare gift to be able to show up with our best selves all the time. Consider telecommuting or virtual work a gift for your career and life.
About the author
Carmela Sperlazza Southers is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies. Her posts on increasing organizational, team, and leader effectiveness in the virtual work world appear on the fourth Monday of every month.