Working Remotely: How Much Face Time is Really Needed?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 4:21 PM

Originally Published 2007-08-02 18:29:46

As I eluded to a couple of days ago, I've been in the process of moving. The most painful part of the process isn't actually moving my stuff and cleaning up my place, it's preparing for the seemingly Herculean task of managing my businesses from afar.

The strangest and most difficult part is simply remaking and rethinking old habits. There's an extraordinary amount of peripheral tasks I take care of with face-to-face meetings, but the truth of the matter is that stacking all of these in person contacts into a week once a quarter isn't that bad of a plan, whether you're talking about landlord duties, network management, or custom web development. This is especially true when your relationships are strong, as [I believe] most of mine are, because I've been providing good value over an extended duration for them. It also definitely helps to have some trusted friends on the ground in a pinch... I've done this for several months at a time in the past while fulfilling IT contracts overseas, but we'll see how well this works over the long haul.

In thinking about your own life, work, and business, if you were to take yourself out of your office everyday from 8-5 (or whatever), how much of that work could actually be done elsewhere? Sure, there are conveniences around being present, but how many of these are actually more effcient with an in-person interaction? If you work in Information Technology, like me, you need some lab boxes somewhere to do work on, for instance, and the setup required to have these machines be virtual instead of physical requires some planning.

A couple of summers back, I had a case where I actually showed a house to a prospective tenant over the phone. I had a liaison physically come and open the door for security reasons, then I proceeded to do a walkthrough over the phone. We handled all of the negotiations right there, on the spot, and took care of the contract specifics and payment via email, fax, and good ol' snail-mail. Now, that isn't something I'd really care to repeat, because I can sell better in person than any agent I've ever worked with, but just because you do something well doesn't mean that delegation isn't possible.

I did make a personal visit to my new tenants the week they moved in when I had time several weeks later, however. Schmoozing isn't dead. I'm just challenging myself -- and you -- to consider your options for untethering yourself from an office, city, or even a country.

There's another angle to this, too, of course. If you can handle it remotely, you can also probably outsource it. I'm a long way from a 4-Hour Work Week, but it's definitely a pleasant ambition.

Comments

On 2007-08-04 06:18:12 make money online said:
I want a 4-hour work week so bad! I think people just have to get out there and push whatever it is that they really want. Just try something different and see what happens. :)

On 2007-08-06 17:31:36 Blackhat SEO said:
After much experimenting with my career, I found what I really love to do. I don't see work as a chore any more. Admittedly, not everyday is great but I actually enjoy getting up in the morning now.

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