It’s no secret that today’s technology has allowed for “the virtual office” to exist for many professionals. At Obsidian, we are laptop-based, so wherever we are – be it in the office, at a meeting or at home with the flu – we have 24/7 access to our client documents, presentations, media lists, clipping spreadsheets, etc. However, even office PC professionals can set up shop at any coffee house, café, committee meeting or home dining room table, thanks to iCloud, Dropbox and other file-sharing apps accessible through personal phones and iPads.
I’ve often referred to this concept of the virtual office as both a blessing and a curse – a convenient inconvenience. I always have my work with me (convenient), but then again, I always have my work with me. While en route to a meeting with one client, I may get a call from another client who needs a file emailed right away. No waiting to get back to the office for me! I can send it from the parking lot before going into the meeting. And, while in that meeting, a discussion may initiate a question about a specific communication strategy outlined in last year’s PR plan. Within minutes, I’m relaying the strategy and corresponding tactics we purposefully laid out for them last year. It’s quite magical really.
On the flip side, I often extend my work day in an effort to accomplish more, get ahead and stay in the loop. If the mood hits me at 9 p.m., I will pull up the website copy I was working on before leaving my laptop to pick up my kids from day care. I will respond to those last few emails that came in after hours before closing my eyes to sleep, and when I’m tossing and turning at night, I will get up, plug in and catch up on the industry newsletters piling up in my inbox. While extra efficient and appreciated by my clients, this practice on a routine basis will lead to lethargy, which in the end, works to my clients’ disadvantage.
I have worked in my pajama pants while at home with a sick kid (efficient), and I have worked in my pajama pants with the stomach bug and a deadline culminating on the same day (crazy); but overall, my virtual office suits me well. The convenience pays off more than any cost, and it’s what makes me the reliable and efficient PR professional that clients enjoy.