I have been reading all these posts lately about how to work from home. Our team is virtual. We have been working remote for years – to give our employees in Northern and Southern California and consultants on the east coast better work-life balance.

The industry we work in has been for the most part working virtually for years. Digital doesn’t require in-person meetings. You no longer have to get on a plane with press kits to head to Boston and New York to launch a company or product like I did in my 30s. More and more reporters or freelancers work from home so the press and analyst meetings we schedule for clients have been over the phone or more recently Zoom. Just two weeks ago we helped a client launch a product and there were limited in-person meetings – and this was just before events were being cancelled and social distancing became a priority.

Of course technology is important. We use Box, Google sheets, Slack, RingCentral and Zoom, texting and phone calls.

But what is most important in moving your work virtually is having the right work ethic and mindset. Here are the qualities we look for in hiring people and how we are successful in working virtual.

1. Strong work ethic. Let’s face it – not everyone has this. People who love to work hard are the best at being remote because no matter what they always strive to get results.
2. Agility. Many clients and new business prospects tell us they appreciate how quick and responsive we are. We make sure we staff accordingly to stay ahead of our clients’ needs and can respond to them quickly and efficiently. We require the same response from internal communication within our team since we are not all sitting in the same office- we all need to be on the same page daily. We ask everyone to acknowledge they got the message and they are working on the ask or project. Because sometimes technology does fail..and messages can get lost or stuck in junk mail.
3. Focus on what’s important. Priorities can often shift but through regular communication, the team knows where to focus efforts. One advantage of a smaller agency like ours is that we do not have too many internal meetings- usually one a week and then multiple touch points during the day as needed. This frees our time to focus on client work and not a lot of meetings – except with clients.
4. Trust. We do not require certain working hours. Employees know they can go to their children’s school activity or a personal appointment and don’t need to ask permission but at the end of the day they know they still need to deliver the work.
5. Reflection. There are times of intense working when we are launching a new product or website for example but then there are quieter times which provide time for reflection on our work and practices, and as a team decide what is working and be open to changing.

Many people say you work more when you are home. This could be true, but I feel I work the same amount as when I was inside a corporate role. I believe we work more efficiently when working remote.

Michele Landry