I have been enjoying the rich virtual conversations over the past several months; I have appreciated the companionship, the conversations, and the insights. I have never worked virtually before and it has been a blast, having a community on the blogs in many ways replaces my need for face to face socialization at work. Actually, I might not have been able to manage 'working alone' if I did not have a thousand people at my finger tips.

I've learned a ton in the last year; and one of the MAIN things I've learned is that I prefer a virtual work environment.

I can focus more. There is NO Drama, unless I blog something and I cause it, there are no distractions, and there is no negativity. Working virtually inspires me to get out and meet NEW faces, and because I am utilitarian motivated ($$$ driven), I am always going to networking events, after hours, breakfasts, what ever - as long as my ideal customers is there, I'm there.

Before I worked virtually, networking out of the office rarely happened, if it was daytime -I needed to be on the phone (personal curse from 1985), over and above rolling the dice on attending an event. With little kids networking in the evenings happened twice a year, if that. Everyone makes choices and the boys won over networking.

Now I network, on a national basis and meet people everywhere I go (quaIified prospects, future customers, and friends) I now have the time and I have the personal need to meet and interact, and I don't feel guilty. Funny thing is...it actually works in business development.

When I show up, I am the expert and people like to meet the expert. And for the most part when people meet me, they like me. I make friends easily and I make an impression. I say this because I was told for years and I continue to hear that the only way a person can make money in the recruiting business is through cold calling. Well. I made great money, record levels and I did a lot of cold calling. The reality is, my biggest accounts, I had to cold call to get the appointment, yet it was on the appointment - when they met me that they melted like butter.

Once, I meet them, yes I have to call them, but it's not cold. Anyway - I like this approach better.

So for me, for my personality - working when I want, how I want, playing to my personal strengths, loving my life, making my kids dinner, taking a run for lunch, having a virtual, social community called recruitingblogs, attending strategically selected events, hiring virtual employees, all of it works. (for me)

And then there are some things to consider before jumping in

Setting a day and time to shower
Keeping the snacks in the kitchen
Kids home from school sick
Dogs barking
Kid calling 10 times on the cell when your on the other line with a prospect.
The Fed X guy ringing the bell when your leading a conference call
Vonage or there lack of
Your college freshman son breaking into a guitar jam when you are leading a webinar for 80 people
Remembering to eat lunch, with no bell and no endless chatter about what's for lunch - it might be 3 before you realize you haven't eaten.

And again, there's what works

Working virtually has allowed me the freedom to create and plan my future. It has afforded me the opportunity to scale back and build up.

It's allowed me the opportunity to meet an entire world who works virtually and on line. It's almost like a 'sub culture'. Vendors who work when they want and how they want, seem to give more, be easier to work with and return high value.

Because of my experience over the last year, one of the promises of Keen Talent, our new Human Capital Staffing company located in silicon valley is to improve corporate talent retention by initiating and integrating functional and productive virtual work environments.

What do you have to say about your working virtual experience? What works? What doesn't?

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