Friday, September 22, 2006

Why fly?

Why, indeed? Those two words were the first in a recent New York Times headline. As someone who has rarely met any of my clients face-to-face in the almost seven years Facilitated Systems has been in existence, it's a good question. While I enjoy being in the same room with people I'm working with, the efficiency and effectiveness of face-to-face and virtual work can be as different as night and day. I think my old article on the subject still largely stands valid, and you might pick up useful ideas from an old decision matrix I once posted.

I know large organizations who seem to work this way: project teams spread around the country, seeing each other only if they need to come together to work on common hardware and saving much time and money in the process. Seen from the client's side, they don't have to pay for a day or half-day at a time of my services; I can afford to give them five minutes, five hours, or five days, whatever they need. And I suspect we all have some work we do best in our own offices, surrounded by reference materials and the like. When you're working remotely, those materials are always there, hopefully reducing the number of "I'll get back to you on that" statements.

The next time you're tempted to pack a suitcase, drive to the airport to arrive two hours early, check your bag, wait in security lines, fly, get a rental car, and go to your meeting, think about those of us who might have had that meeting already and be off to other things before you even arrived at the airport. If you're not comfortable moving yourself or your team to virtual work, find one of us who is, and get some assistance.

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