I interviewed Deanna Vickers, Senior Engagement Manager at Acklen/Avenue, about life as a remote worker. Deanna’s role at Acklen/Avenue, a company that creates custom, secure software, involves acting as an agent for clients, as well as encouraging and supporting the internal team.
Here are 3 tips from Deanna about what you should know about being (or becoming!) a remote worker.
1. Never worked remotely? Don’t let that deter you from looking for a virtual position.
Deanna found her first virtual job through a posting on LinkedIn. “It was something I was very interested in doing but had little experience, especially managing projects 100 percent remotely,” she says. Still, she landed the gig.
Once she started, Deanna says it took a bit of time to get acclimated to the level of multi-tasking she recognized was possible when you work from home.
“For me, it helped to take notes for every meeting to keep me on task during the call. I also found it very helpful to be on camera more often than not so I could visually connect with people during the meeting.”
After a few months as a virtual worker, both the connectedness, and the productivity of the virtual team truly surprised her; both were better than she had anticipated. “In fact,” she says, “it was the most rewarding and productive work I’ve ever done.”
“Work anywhere” was a core value of the company, which Deanna credits as part of the reason for this successful virtual culture. “To be trusted to do your work on your own terms is to be empowered.”
2. It doesn’t always have to be “all business,” all the time.
It’s true that virtual business meetings can be well, quite…efficient.
But that doesn’t mean it should always be straight to business in your virtual meetings, explains Deanna. “I do like to start all calls with a friendly welcome and maybe some fun comment or fact. If we manage to get through our call objectives quickly, I also like to ask open-ended, fun questions to get to know people better.”
Whether this be asking people about their weekend plans, or seeing if someone is going on vacation, this kind of communication is important to stay connected. “I usually phrase it very openly so they can answer with whatever detail is comfortable,” she adds.
3. Don’t forget to celebrate your culture.
At a past virtual company, Deanna participated in a all-hands meeting each week that was generally quite casual so that people could share what was going on in their personal lives. “People shared camera views of their pets and exchanged pleasantries before we got into the purpose of the call.”
Other ideas include a virtual Christmas party, or when possible, staff members meeting together as a group. Another idea? A virtual, anonymous present exchange.
“Everyone had a gift to open, which was done on camera. We all guessed who the gift giver was—which was fun.”
For those that like to work where they work best, “own their work” as well as their time, it’s clear that once you go virtual, there’s no going back. “It will be my preference to work remotely from now on,” agrees Deanna.
READ MORE: If you liked this post, you might like “5 Ways to Build Your Brand Authentically”
Kim Sykes is a marketer and content creator at Edoc Service, Inc., a total virtual company.