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Get Yourself Ready for Virtual Work Environments


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about how organizations need to stop obsessing about telework and start preparing for virtual work environments. As someone who works in many different organizations, it’s my observation that few organizations are preparing for the world of virtual work that we know is coming.

How can this be? Most organizations struggle to keep up with current technology demands and have little energy, time, and money to think about the future. As much as they would like to do this, it just never rises to the top of the to-do list.

Here is the good news: You are the master of your universe! It’s time for you to start thinking about what can you do to get yourself ready for the world of work that is inevitable and just around the corner. Here are five things you can do right now that will prepare you and your colleagues for the virtual world of work that’s coming.

  1. Be camera ready. The first step of being camera ready is to buy a good camera. Think of it as a high-end assessory like a handbag, or watch, or really great briefcase. A really good camera will make you look sharp, clear and professional during virtual interactions. Ditto for a microphone. Second, check your background. Set up a little mini studio at home and in your office. No one wants to look at your refrigerator. Finally, lighting is everything. Make sure you are adequately and evenly lit.
  2. Start using the technologies you already own. Start FaceTiming people instead of calling or emailing. Start sending videos instead of email messages, particularly for casual interactions. Be a role model who demonstrates how much we can already do.
  3. Put everyone on a level playing field. Stop projecting slides and require everyone to access the meeting materials through their computer so that everyone has the same meeting experience. Do this even when everyone is in the room so that they have experience working together through technologies. Do everything you can to make geography irrelevant.
  4. Never put a bullet on a PowerPoint slide again. Switch over to visuals. Use photographs and graphic display of information to communicate your messages. Save your bullets for your script and for a one page executive summary that you send by email immediately following the meeting.
  5. Explore the virtual technologies that already exist in your organization. Partner with the people who own them. Offer to help and start experimenting. You will be shocked to find out what already exists and how much you need to learn in order to be able to use the technology effectively. Take every opportunity you can to participate in all kinds of virtual meetings and sessions to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Want to learn and see more? Put some of these items on your wish list!

Microsoft: Microsoft Vision 2019

Corning: A Day Made of Glass 2

Jeri Buchholz is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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