The Beauty of Working Virtually

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Published: 16 Apr 2022

Categories
Body Language

This may end up being a controversial post. We’ll see!

I LOVE working virtually!

I love working virtually instead of real life.

I love the amount of time I save.

I love how much time (and money) I save my clients.

I also want to point out that this is not just because of Covid changing things (although it did change things, of course.) I had already been using Zoom since around 2017 way before this happened. I used it whilst people were still using Skype. As soon as they gave you an option to upgrade, I did to Zoom Business Pro.  This gave me much more scope for 1-1 Breakthrough Coaching, Pre-meets with clients and actual virtual sessions came later.

It took me a while, but I found that I could do everything that I could do in person online. And now a few years on, it’s even better. Zoom kept upgrading. I’m a technophobic in most ways, but have got to grips with the online tools because I want to use them, and ……… I don’t want to travel unless I have to.

To put it in context, in 2017 I did 111,000 kms around NZ in my car. In 2018 I was allegedly based in Queenstown, and yet I took over 40 flights that year! After that year I made some big decisions, and one of them was only to work remotely with North Island clients. It takes two flights one way to pretty much get anywhere in North Island from Queenstown.

Then Covid hit in 2019 and people were super quick to ‘pivot’ (love that word – not!) My phone started ringing straight away, as in within an hour of Jacinda’s announcement re: lockdowns. Cancellations, postponements. Almost 20k of upcoming work gone in a few hours, with the rest on indefinite postponement. I gave deposits back (because it was the right thing to do when people were scared). I hunkered down with everyone else and remained in Invercargill for a year, whereas I initially went there to fulfill a 5 months contract – which could never meet the gathering requirements until later in 2019 so that I could finish the job.

But then something miraculous happened – a light in the darkness and not knowing-ness. The phone started to ring again, this time asking if I could transfer my work online. I said yes, of course and started experimenting with how sessions would work online. How I could leverage recordings of sessions, and do 1-1 Breakthrough coaching, which works brilliantly online.  The income was no where near what it was before, but there is always a silver lining.

The silver lining? Was that it was all was done from a studio set up in my spare bedroom. I invested in lights, a super cool blue tooth headset, and tried to plan sessions on the same day so it was worth putting on my full slap as we say in Derby. Translation – make-up.

No more $30 taxis to the airport, waiting in airports, spending time in hotels the night before waiting to work the next day. The bonus for my clients, no disbursements. To get someone like me there in person has an additional cost of all the expenses, which can really mount up.

Virtual work has been spectacular for people like me. It’s meant that I don’t lose mountains of time hanging around in hotels and airports or ferries. Because it is REALLY difficult to charge for that time, and people don’t always get that whatever your price is in person it has to allow for that, because you are losing opportunities to work for someone else in the time you spend getting to and from a job.

Virtual work has meant that I can keep my carbon footprint down. Only four flights this year so far and one ferry booked for June. That is a massive difference that I am making. And I feel like I’m making a difference. It was outrageous how much I travelled before.

Virtual work is way less stressful. I love pottering, in fact if it ever gets made into an Olympic sport I’m in. When you work virtually you can potter in between jobs, make soup (I love soup), chat to a friend, do laundry. You can head to the pool first and then put your slap on. Your overheads go down.  In my case my fee went down also, as I decided to  charge a fixed price for virtual sessions (unless they are recorded which is more.)

Virtual work has so many bonuses for my clients that I’m losing count. The obvious one is that they don’t need to get a whole team together via flights and accommodation from several branches. Each branch can log on at the specified time without any extra down time or loss of working hours. People working from home can also join in. People working in other countries can join in. So it costs them less, and my fee is less – no disbursements.

Hybrid events have also become more commonplace, so if I do turn up for local work it’s not unusual anymore to have people streaming in from somewhere else in the world, or to have someone propped up on an iPad on the same table as the rest of a group of colleagues.

There are so many tools on Zoom, there is a way to include absolutely everyone. In the pre-meet chat with a client I always enquire about types of people they have. Are some more introverted, some more extroverted etc. Are there people that have never met before in real life?

Zoom has something for everyone. Poll questions which can be done anonymously so everyone has a voice, even the shy or introverted or anxious can participate.  Whiteboard which everyone can add to so sessions are more interactive and fun. Chatbox capture so that a client can really take on board afterwards what their team wants and has ideas about. Breakout rooms where Zoom can auto assign people to a room and mix them up. This means that you get to work with different colleagues. Zoom has recently added host voice within the breakout rooms as well so the host can pop between rooms and contribute like you would wander around the tables in a real life event as a trainer/coach. And lets not forget the emotion emojis that add nuances. I love emojis, they are part of non-verbal communication.

I know, I sound like an evangelist for Zoom. But I also work on Teams and so many other platforms around the world, with people from all around the world.

I told a friend the other day that I was going for a nana nap because I’d been working from 5am in the UK and she said “well you wouldn’t have to start at that time in real life”. But I also wouldn’t be able to put a hearty soup in the crockpot at 4.30am for dinner later, go to the pool straight after the session whilst it’s not busy, and then come home and have a nana nap. The rest of the day is mine, I’ve made some money, had some exercise, and dinner is ready for later. BOOM!

What’s next for me? I’d love to go full virtual. I’ll be living in Whangarei for the last 6 months of the year and it will be weird to switch places so my website says “I only work virtually in South Island or non-local.” My new local becomes Whangarei.

How can you help? Have a think about if your training/coaching really needs to be in person and what the benefits would be of it being virtual. Think of the money, time and energy you are saving for people. How you are helping the planet. Taking some stress off your team.

What’s next for me? For around 2 years I’ve been watching how hologram technology is evolving. I’m predicting that in less that 10 years it will be the new Zoom. Hologram yourself anywhere in the world. Hologram technology will be incredible for delivering body language sessions, and I can’t wait to use it.

Reach out if either version of me can help you help your team be the best they can be, sell more, notice more, and be kinder. Yes, body language can do all of that for you….and much more!