What Are Your Possibilities and Limitations?
Focusing on limitations will keep you where you are; focusing on possibilities will get you going. If you Google search “limitations” and “possibilities,” about six million results will show up. Obviously, they have meaning to a lot of people. From medicine to GPS to teacher education, people are interested in possibilities and limitations. Working in the virtual world is no different. It is a world of opposites, dichotomies and contradictions. It is work without the physical location or place we called “work.” It is geographically detached yet virtually connected. It is: open and flexible, but grounded on a common business vision; vulnerable to change, but highly adaptable; private on a personal level, but demands collaboration across boundaries; highly informal, but results-oriented. It is worth mentioning them again because it is these contrasts that may make being authentically productive seem challenging.
When you are geographically detached yet virtually connected, you have to reach out and rely on people in a different way than you did in the old office. You want to be more considerate of where they are, what time it is, what you are asking for and when you expect it. Avoid sarcasm and inappropriate humor. Be aware that what you are saying and how it is being interpreted might be different. You are responsible for establishing and maintaining trust in these relationships. It takes time to establish trust online and it can be gone in an instant.
You want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Your company, school or client needs your buy-in and you want to feel comfortable with the goals, objectives and mission statement you are buying into. It is this common business vision that unites an otherwise chaotic world. It defines the important things and supports productivity. Flexible doesn’t mean scattered all over the place. It is possible to be flexible and focused at the same time. Flexibility and focus will help you adapt to, and be productive in, a world that is constantly shifting and changing.
This endless environment of change requires workers who are open to the new. These new technologies are vulnerable to change but highly adaptable. We are continuously adapting them to do more for us in myriad different ways. When the head of HR at Yahoo said, “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” and “We need to be one Yahoo! And that means being physically together,” it proved yet again that even those in the business struggle with handling the rate of change technology is imposing (Thompson, 2013). We are all vulnerable to change, and change is not something most companies, organizations or people handle really well. Yet in this ever-evolving and morphing workplace, change is a constant.
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