3 Key Skills to Avoid Isolation as an Anywhere Worker

Originally Published June 2010 by Linda DeLuca

Anywhere worker avoid isolation

As human beings we all struggle to balance connectedness and individuality. As Anywhere Workers, we must pay particular attention to avoid isolation as it takes on what I like to call OOSOOM Syndrome (out-of-sight-out-of-mind.) These three skills will help you as an anywhere worker avoid isolation and balance your need to connect and stay independent.

OOSOOM Syndrome

We have all felt the impact of OOSOOM Syndrome at one time or another. Whether you work in an office and your boss works in another town (or country); in your home office; or at cafes and community WIFI locations; you have experienced the OOSOOM effect.

OOSOOM includes: being left out of an impromptu meeting at the ‘office;’ not being considered or thought of for a project just because you were not the first person the boss saw at the office; not getting the latest draft of the presentation your team is delivering next week to the governance group; and many other omissions from the location influenced communication habits of your organization.

So what does an Anywhere Worker due to overcome this type of isolation?

3 Skills to Avoid Isolation

Skill 1: Connect

Take responsibility. Reach out your (virtual) hand to shake the other person’s. Who is the other person? Your stakeholders: your boss, your boss’s boss,  your co-workers, the office manager, the IT team that supports you, the project team members of both your projects and projects of interest, the functional group that uses the information you provide and so on. First, make a list of all of your stakeholders.  Think of those you directly and indirectly influence. Consider those who influence your ability to get your work done. Answer the question: ‘Who are my clients.’  Make sure a person’s name is listed and not a department or project name. This is all about human to human connections. Second, next to each name, identify how to best connect with that person (email, phone, IM, other).

Skill 2: Communicate

Take action. Once you know who to connect with and how to reach them, it’s time to communicate. Each person has their own communication style and preferences (as do you). Understanding those preferences is key to getting your message heard. Take the time to understand your style and that of your key stakeholders. One way is to simply ask your stakeholders how they want to communicate with you. Questions you may consider: What form of communication do they prefer (email, phone, txt); How much detail do they need?; How often should you communicate (daily, weekly, as needed)? Another way, especially with multiple stakeholders, is to have your team take a communication style assessment (such as LIFO, DISC) to identify each member’s strengths and  communication preferences. With the assessment strategies and tools at your fingertips, you can turn a strained   relationship into an effective and efficient interaction.

Skill 3: Collaborate

Add value. Communicating with your stakeholders is step closer to being a productive part of the team. To increase your stakeholders’ awareness (and thus reducing OOSOOM syndrome) you need to add value through collaboration. To successfully collaborate you need to build on the communication styles and understand your own and your team’s work styles. Who has the strength of analytics? Which team member is great with building relationships? Who is great at getting the team into action? Which member will manage the quality of the work? Knowing this about yourself is the first step in being able to collaborate successfully and productively with your work team. Once you recognize your own strengths in your behaviors, you will be able to recognize others’ strengths. You are on your way to effective and efficient collaboration.

Connect. Communicate. Collaborate. These three key skills of the Anywhere Worker are valuable not only to those that have distance between them and their colleagues. They are keys for any professional. 3 keys – numerous applications.

Are you connecting with the right people to achieve your goals? How well  do you use the appropriate  communication style to help your message be heard? Do you utilize your strengths as often as possible? Take a moment and consider the truth.