What does it mean to work virtually?

You work on your own away from others. While you might have contact with others via phone, email, and these days Skype you are alone in your work environment. You may or may not have a set schedule depending on whether you work for others or not. You will generally have more flexibility with your work. You will generally make your decisions. You can do your own research and you will be responsible for your own work.

What is good about working virtually?

No more commute! You are steps from your office. You are in a surrounding which is comfortable for you. You can set your own hours. You can make up time you might lose during part of the day if running errands, going to the doctor, and so on.
You have more time available! There is a sense of getting back a part of your life and having more control over your time. You gain all this time which is always wasted at the office on small talks, meetings, and other unnecessary interruptions. I would guess most office workers waste 1-2 hours a day with hallway conversations, coffee breaks, listening to co-workers telling about their weekends and upcoming vacations. There are no more boring mandatory meetings to attend in person and no more wasted group luncheons and, of course, no more those afternoon birthday cake celebrations!

What is bad about working virtually?

You can get lost working without supervision. You can get lonely especially if you require people around you all the time. You can gain much weight if you are not on an exercise program as the urge to stop by the home kitchen many times a day is tootempting. You can get easily distracted by the things which occur at home such as people at your door, TV, random calls, and just the fact that when you work at home your family assumes that you are free! It is easy to get distracted by household chores and other things sometimes you would rather do!

Who can actually handle working virtually?

Those self-starters who work for themselves, who know how to motivate themselves and love to handle their own calendar.
Those who love the opportunity to work 15 hours a day whenever they feel like it!
Those individuals who are disciplined, who are good at managing their time, planning their day and so on will do well working at home.
Those people who are creative and love working with music and alone will especially love this arrangement.

What individuals can’t work virtually?

Those people who want to be in control of others will not like this arrangement. Those outgoing types who have a high need to be in constant contact with others in a fast paced environment will find working at home challenging. I would not recommend working at home for people who have a high need for praise and a hello from the boss, unless the cat or dog counts.

The best roles for working virtually

That should be creative roles for sure. Writing, editing, developing software, teaching, designing, reviewing, making calls are all good roles for working at home.

Do you qualify?

First, as I always like to advise, is map out your own vision of your perfect vocational day, a day, which you could repeat as a pattern for the rest of your life. Where would you place yourself in this perfect day? Working at home or not? Working alone or with others? Or a combination of these arrangements would work best for you?

Do you seek lots of quiet time alone or lots of collaboration and interruptions? Your life will start to turn out JUST the way you want once you start to plan for it and move in the direction which works best for you. Figuring out if working at home is right for you is a good place to start!

I’ll be cheering you on as you go!

Craig Nathanson