The Art and Science of Being Virtual
Tips and insights on how to use Skype to virtually be in another place. More
Hi. I’m Dan Brockway. I've been telecommuting since October 2007. I work for a software company in Boston, Massachusetts and live and work in Dallas, Texas. Yup. Both of those at the same time. They call me "Virtual Dan."
My management and peers have been surprised at how effective my virtual existence has been for all these years. I’d like to share with you the secrets to my success. Maybe it will help you stay where you are while being gainfully employed somewhere else.
My journey began when I landed this job in Boston. I almost didn't apply. It was a great position at a great company, but I was not willing to move from Dallas. Fortunately, we agreed that I could be a ‘remote’ employee. This meant that I would travel to Boston for a few days each month, but otherwise I would work at home and attend meetings remotely using the conference phone, but mostly using GoToMeeting or Skype video.
This arrangement was okay, but I was dependent on people in Boston. Someone had to log on to the conference room computer, log on to GoToMeeting, call me, and make sure the microphone and video camera were plugged in, working, and pointed in the right direction. The dependence was frustrating and meant that people had to wait around while I was getting set up. If anything went wrong, my setup person would give up and call me on the phone – leaving me blind to the goings on in the conference room.
A couple of years into this arrangement, my supervisor left the company and I became the supervisor. This meant that I now had people in the Boston office reporting to me. "Oh no," I thought. This was it, the moment of truth. I would finally have to move to Boston or fully make the transition from 'remote' to 'virtual' employee. I chose the latter.
I've written this short guide to give you the essential clues you need to make the transition. It includes the technical details, but more importantly it uncovers some subtle psychology that makes the difference between success and failure.
Failure is when you have to uproot your family and move or quit your job.
Success is when everyone in the organization feels as if you are where you’re supposed to be at all times.