Presentation video

Telecommuting: are you ready for your close up?

Owing to global weirding, those who can are making plans to telecommute today. If you’re a writer, teacher, or communicator: you might have access to tools that allow you to do your jobs remotely. In a pinch, remote tools can often allow ‘the show to go on’.

I remember speaking at an out-of-state conference a few years ago: one of the conference organizers approached me and asked if I would mind switching my allotted speaking time to another time slot. It seemed that there was a travel glitch: another out-of-state speaker couldn’t arrive to speak on time.

Of course I agreed to switch time slots. One look at the anxiety on the organizer’s face told me I needed to do whatever I could to make her life easier. I watched as she and her team scrambled with the hotel staff to set up a Skype connection to a large screen data display.

The scheduled speaker ended up speaking remotely via Skype. It was a smart and successful adaptation to a trying situation.

Similarly, a number of weather-related and travel-related emergencies have cropped up in my life over the past year. While I agree that face-to-face client meetings are necessary — it’s also time to learn to smoothly integrate telecommuting into your work schedule if it’s possible.

Before scheduling a face-to-face meeting, I often find myself asking, “Is this something we can do over phone? Or Skype? Or Google Hangouts?”

Clients are usually pretty delighted to at least give it a try. In a pinch, remote meetings and classes can work very well — especially when you have practice using them in non-crisis situations!

Why not try scheduling a few meetings remotely when you don’t absolutely have to? Make them more matter-of-fact? Personally, I find remote meetings to be huge time-savers: the tendency to linger or sidetrack seems to diminish online. And the costs associated with travelling (time and energy) also disappear.

How can we more smoothly integrate telecommuting policies into our day-to-day business life? And could it be that we’ve arrived at a time and place in our evolution where learning how to effectively communicate on-camera is a key business skill?

“I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.”