My thoughts on the Virtual Worker and the Virtual Office environment.

A few days ago Darren posted up “The Virtual Worker Manifesto” which listed the top ten rules for being a virtual worker. It does a really good job of explaining how to cope with the challenges of being a virtual worker but also reveals some of the benefits. Andrew Parsons replied to the post on his own blog with some more good points.

I wanted to take this opportunity to add my thoughts to the conversation since I am fortunate enough to be a virtual worker. My main concern for the 99.99% of people out there that aren’t virtual workers is that it is going to be as much a reality for them as the paperless office was (aside: if you wanted to create a paperless office you need to get rid of printers, yet printers are cheaper than they ever where before).

The thing about virtual workers is that they need a virtual office, and getting a virtual office involves a lot more than just enabling employees to VPN into the corporate network from across the Internet.

Common Misconception

A lot of people I know assume that being a virtual worker, in a virtual office means that you are never going to see your virtual co-workers. This is not true. Being a virtual worker is about having the flexibility to work anywhere. Typically you will have some bases of operation whether it be your house, a client site for a period of time, or your favorite park or coffee shop.

Sometimes, even though you are a virtual worker, you have to spend periods of time in the same physical space as the other people you work with, rather than seeing this as a negative virtual worker experience you should look at it as an opportunity to learn things about the people you work with that you couldn’t any other way – it is a virtual worker treat!


3 thoughts on “My thoughts on the Virtual Worker and the Virtual Office environment.

  1. Andrew Parsons

    Actually Mitch, you’re right there and it’s something that we at Readify seem to be trying to get a really good grip on.

    With a combination of things like an annual company day where all employees gather together, and various management personnel paying visits to every programmer as regularly as they’re able, it means we do get “face time” with our fellow employees.

  2. Mitch Denny

    Hi Andrew,

    Actually I was thinking of more regularly – like each day. On some projects, especially when the time pressure is on it makes sense to work from the same location to facilitate high bandwidth context sharing šŸ™‚

  3. Neil

    Quite an old post but will add my thoughts to it, I think the major concerns are more of the IT support you require at times when working from a virtual office, which sometime becomes a hassle if you are on your own(logging into the network is different). The bigger concern is about being distracted but none the less I am enjoying working as a virtual worker. It did take some time to adjust!

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