Technology is making our lives easier and more flexible. It is enabling a remote workforce, where we are becoming aware that having a body sitting behind a desk in a specific location isn’t a requirement. If the work is done (and done well) by a certain date, does it matter where the work is done from?

The services OptimalPeople provide are able to be done remotely for the most part, and our buddy company OptimalBI also embraces the remote worker.

There are some basic things you will need to consider when working with a remote colleague, though holding a meeting like this isn’t much different to having everyone physically present.

All normal meeting etiquette still applies; accept/decline the invitation, give your apologies if you’ll be late or can’t make it last minute, etc. The biggest difference is that one or more of the attendees is using technology to participate.

Do your research into which tech tool will be best for your team. Will you need voice only? Do you need to screen share your presentation with the remote worker? How will interactive workshops work? Software such as Sococo, Google Hangouts, Skype and the like offer a range of voice, video, and screen sharing options. It may take a couple of trials to find one that works for everyone.

You should also think about the infrastructure you need. Does your meeting room have a speaker/microphone that can pick up voice from your room? Is it clear? Can you use it with your laptop or phone? If you’re going to use a webcam, you really need to do your research, will it be able to give a clear picture in a dimly lit room of the presenter and whatever they’re gesturing towards? Make sure the laptop you’re using doesn’t hibernate, sleep or run out of battery part way through.

For the remote worker there may be challenges to attending a meeting digitally, but with a bit of thought, you can make the experience much easier. They may be working with below par audio which means they miss those quiet yet important side comments that contribute to the meeting. Speak up, speak clearly and speak one at a time. Describe what’s happening in the meeting room if they can’t see. They won’t know if someone has left the room, for example, if nobody tells them.

Embrace remote working, see yourself on a beach on some tropical island and being able to work.

The technology is available now and getting better as we speak, but our culture needs to adapt to this way of working. It’ll happen faster if you get on board with it.