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Working Effectively as a Virtual Consultant

If you’ve been hired to work on a home-based assignment, then you’ve entered the world of working virtually.

Here are some tips to make the transition to virtual work as smooth as possible.

Working at home requires self-discipline and organization. Set up a separate, dedicated workspace away from distractions. People who have been teleworking for a long time recommend that you establish boundaries between your personal and business lives.

Set expectations at the outset. Establishing project parameters with the client up front is the key to a solid working relationship. Rick Vossman, a longtime consultant with Clarity, asks these critical questions during an initial interview with a manager:

  • How well defined is the desired deliverable?
  • Do you know what you’re looking for?
  • What kind of analysis needs to be done?

Vossman cautions if the client does not have a well-defined deliverable in mind, the project could result in scope creep and missed expectations.

Establish clear lines of communications. When you’re not interacting face-to-face with your client, methods of communication become even more important. As you begin your assignment, check in with your client and find out how he or she would prefer to stay updated. Should you hold weekly conference calls? Send daily written updates? Have a SharePoint folder or Google document to share files? Setting these practices at the start will greatly reduce your stress level.

After making some minor adjustments to their work styles, most virtual workers report greater productivity and job satisfaction.

What to learn more about working virtually?

What are your strategies for working as a virtual consultant? Please tell us in the comments!