6 Tips for Working "Virtually" with Remote Offices and Clients
When you are not working in the same office with your boss or client, it can be difficult for them to understand how you are spending your time. To make sure they perceive the value your work is adding, initiate communication. Do not wait for your manager to ask for a status update: send an email mentioning your progress or initiate discussions on issues you are facing. Remember, for practical purposes, unless your boss (or client) knows about the effort you are putting in, you might not be putting in that effort at all.
Communicate regularly and frequently.
Set up a weekly or even a daily call, even though you think you won't need it. (Remember, some of those meetings will be canceled due to other priorities, so schedule generously.) Setting aside some time to chat about work lets you focus on less urgent or underlying issues that aren't covered in more formal email. And remember, you can't really "brainstorm" over email. While I'm a big fan of professional communication, spontaneity and synergy often generate ideas in a way a tame email chain cannot.
Prevent and resolve misunderstandings.
Read over every communication you send and make sure it's error-free and conveys the right message before you send it (even if it's merely a chat message). Trust me, replying a few minutes later is infinitely preferable to an ill-thought-out reply. If you do send out something and then realize it was incomplete or wrongly-worded, send out another email right away explaining what you meant.
If you receive a reply that implies your message has been misunderstood, apologize and clarify. If you aren't sure you understood what the other party communicated, ask questions. It is much better to ask five more questions and understand what is required from you than realize much too late that you got it wrong.