The Virtual Worker Manifesto
Working from home presents some significant challenges beyond those that exist when working from a traditional workplace. Many of those challenges relate to how we communicate effectively with our co-workers and more importantly how we address the notion of living in our offices. In this article I’m presenting a number of things that should be taken into account when making the shift to becoming a virtual worker so that you can enjoy the best that it has to offer.
1) Email work items to colleagues anytime, just don't expect an immediate response. There's no guarantee that they are on the same cycle as you anyway. ;-)
2) Don’t phone your work colleagues about work related matters after hours. Family time is precious.
3) Zero your Inbox daily. Or put better… stay on top of things.
4) Subscribe to the alerts – blogs, IM status changes, shared calendars, etc – of your co-workers to keep abreast of what they are up to. This will reduce the amount of time that you need to spend writing emails and engaging in phone conversations and will reserve those activities for only special occasions.
5) Delegate anything that you can delegate before starting your own work – this is no different to the bricks and mortar rule.
6) Don't spend your entire day processing email. Go for extended periods where you are physically disconnected from your email client. You don’t need be the author of each alternate message in an email thread :-)
7) Take advantage of the best of what virtual has to offer. Have lunch with your family. Work from the beach. Grow a beard. Chill out!
8) Shower daily. Yes… DAILY - and while you are at it get out of the house too!
9) Invest in creating a pleasant working environment. Don’t skimp on your virtual habitat. Buy a water cooler, a nice painting, and invest in having a pleasant view.
10) Re-think how you communicate with your co-workers and choose your communication medium wisely. No need to choose a synchronous medium when an asynchronous one will do.
11) Switch off, and I mean off. Switch off the phone, email, IM or all of them, any time, day or night. We are all virtual professionals and as such do spend extended hours on line, but at the same time if we get bumped to voicemail, or have to wait for a reply to an email, nobody is going to think that you are slacking off, or unresponsive. We all need to switch off whether to focus on a particular task or just have time out. I do. (Added by Graeme Armstrong 6-Sep-2006)