Consultants are known for being road warriors – hoping on a plane Monday morning for some new destination and returning home Thursday night (generally). We clock tens of thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of miles a year traveling to be with our clients. Oftentimes, the face to face meeting is the only way we get the job in the first place. It is true that people like doing business with people they like. However, even when working with clients or job prospecting in town, in the past I found myself logging a lot of miles and hours commuting across metro-Atlanta to meet colleagues for coffee. This means a 1 hour meeting might be a 3 hour venture by the time all is said and done.
Trusting my relationships with business partners and trusting my belief in myself to do good work, over the past year I began to shift more and more meetings to online. Particularly for those preliminary “meet and greet” coffees or breakfasts where the point was to talk about what we do or how we might assist one another in business. For many of us, these meetings could take up all of our time. I love to mentor and be mentored. I enjoy meeting new people. I like to assist others in their career goals. But being able to prioritize face to face meetings is an important skill of the independent freelance consultant or entrepreneur.
This past year, I set aside my Prius, which already gets 45 miles to the gallon in town, for increasing the number of online meetings using technologies which would allow face time and voice – and even the ability to record the calls. I am not saving I have given up face to face meetings all together. Of course not. I spend lots of time in client offices and working along side partners. I attend professional meetings and networking opportunities (although I have greatly reduced those as well due to time and environmental savings objectives). One way I have been able to do this is about being more strategic and selective about where I do show up. Once worried that people would judge me for opting to not meet in real presence for meeting over online video conferencing – I soon realized that others were just as grateful to shift meeting styles and lower their environmental impact. Less fuel used and less pollutants released in the air of our city was a benefit in addition to the savings of hours a week I could dedicate to reading, running or yoga. I had reclaimed my life by using technology. And had lowered my carbon footprint. I slept better at night knowing that I was getting more done and taking care of myself in the process.
Now that’s what I call being sustainable! Taking care of the planet and myself at the same time. Not to mention the cost savings that adds up from not driving and all those $2 coffees.
Catch me on the “Up in the Air” Panel at South By Southwest – Monday, March 12th // 10a-2p at SXSW
PGi and iMeet Give Next Gen Flair to Collaboration with #shiftSXSW
“Up in the Air”: On the Move with the Working Nomad
According to Forrester Research, 66% of information workers in the US and Europe already work remotely. Evernote CEO Phil Libin, PGi Digital Nomad Cora Rodenbusch and corporate green strategist Lewis Perkins discuss the implications of that trend and tools that have emerged as a result of this shift.
Featured panelists will share personal experiences, successes, failures, lessons learned and where they believe the future is heading. Attendees will participate in an open dialogue about working remotely, unconventional workspaces, business travel, and corporate sustainability.
During this decidedly unique experience, we will spark both conversation and creativity. We want to build collaborative relationships amongst peers and create a fun environment where we can share an elevated dialogue about the work we produce. We hope you will join us in Austin.
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