(Making the transition to full or part-time remote/virtual office work takes some courage and the willingness to get uncomfortable.  While my transition was more of an overnight experience, the gradual approach of slowly breaking-away from relying on the four-walls of your office tomb can be beneficial to anyone unsure of what they need to make their virtual office work for their goals.  This week my posts will explore four simple ways to baby-step your way into thinking about working without walls: 1. Identifying and starting with high productivity days; 2. Explore alternatives to in-person meetings; 3. Establish and out-of-office communication and workflow; 4. Clearly define your workspace in advance.)

Part2:_ Explore Alternatives to In-Person Meetings

Most in-person meetings are productivity killers in my opinion. Unless being run in drill-sergeant fashion with a strict eye on the clock and the agenda, they often veer off into side conversations about semi-related subject matter that has no immediate utility and derails productivity.

Video chats and conference calls are some of the more obvious work around options. Most know about services like FreeConferenceCall.com, Google Hangouts, Uberconference.com, and Zoom.com that allow for free connection options by both voice and video chat. There are a host of others, both free and paid that can easily be explored in a Google search. But even conference calls can be a drag on your day and time. How many times have we all been on a call that could have very well been an email?

And emails are great, but one less discussed option is the underutilized traditional voice memo (not to be confused with voicemail which nobody uses anymore either). It’s more personal and less time consuming than an email, but also doesn’t require the person to be present in the exact moment, so you are able to communicate your thought or idea effectively in your own space and time. Most cell phones have an app built in for voice this function or you can explore Apps such as SimpleMic, and QuickVoice Recorder, that work for uploading straight from phones, tablets and accessories like the Apple Watch.

At #SASLaw we rely on software options and online collaboration tools that virtually eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings during the day. There are a host of options to explore based on your team’s size and needs. Some have overlapping feature; however each offers a different type of service from task management to instant messaging to document “templating.” For team work and project management I rely on Asana (Asana.com). Comparable platforms like BaseCamp and Slack are also offer good team organization and communication options. You can also collaborate with apps like Trello which have an online function too if you want to work from the computer instead of the phone.

Adopting these practices does not need to wait until you’ve physically removed yourself from a brick and mortar office. These are simple ideas you can start playing around with today. If you’re going to be making that leap to remote life it is still important to meet in-person with your team on a routine basis (see my article Five Easy Ways To Keep Your Remote Team Mindful & Motivated ). However, you can increase your productivity by 30-50% when you incorporate alternatives to the traditional face-to-face interactions with your team.

By, Sahmra A. Stevenson, Esq.

S.A. Stevenson Law Offices, LLC

Email: s.stevenson@saslawOffices.com; Twitter: @SAS_Law; IG: SahmraStevensonEsq; Facebook: @SASLawOffices; www.saslawoffices.com; www.officewithoutwalls.org