Four Tips for Staying Engaged…While in Bunny Slippers
At CSR, we work with a lot of businesses who are in the small to medium-sized range. They may have a small number of employees but have lofty and real revenue goals and growth plans. And they tend to rely on a lot of outsourcing, virtual workers, and contractors to get the job done.
As a marketing consultant for CSR, and having worked as an independent marketing contractor for the past several years after leaving corporate America, I am living the dream of working from home. No, I don’t actually have a pair of bunny slippers, but I do enjoy a commute of one flight of stairs, dress very comfortably, and have a great deal of flexibility in my day.
While the benefits of working virtually are fantastic, there are plenty of challenges. In addition to setting good boundaries to focus on my family’s needs and wants, another big challenge is staying very engaged. Engaged with my clients, my colleagues, friends, and other creative outlets. Here are a few reliable tips to keep engagement and energy high:
Pick up the phone! Yes, email is so easy, and there’s that nice documentation trail. But there’s no substitute for having a two-way conversation to collaborate and make some decisions. Plus, it’s so great to hear another human voice.
Did I say there’s no substitute for a phone call? Get out of the house! Just because we work from home doesn’t mean we can never leave it. If your clients or colleagues are in the same city, regularly schedule check-in meetings in order to physically catch up and review projects across the table – even if the table is a tiny coffee-house rounder. If you are a true remote worker and all of your people are a great distance away, you can still get out there for networking meetings or organization events.
Participate in forums like webinars, panel discussions, and social media sites that allow you to learn new skills or provide your own expertise. As long as you are selective with your choices, you can easily manage your time with these.
Allocate reasonably frequent “professional development days.” Depending on your skill sets and functional interests, seek out spots to recharge your batteries. As a marketing consultant, I try to spend a few hours every quarter wandering in Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. This wandering time gives me a chance to take a break, get outside, be inspired, and reflect on my various projects – and pick up a few new ideas.
And don’t forget to thank the folks who make it possible for you to work from home – it really is a fabulous bunny-slippered blessing.
How do you stay engaged while working virtually?