Hurricane Matthew hit us hard. Lots have been lost. I found myself bouncing between cyber cafes to continue where I left off with my work efforts. Strangely enough, it really reminded me of what it was like to work remotely. I spent 5 years working various contracts for companies across the grid – virtually that is. It was always an adventure.

Sure was something. Some days I found myself on contracts working as early as 3am my time (EST) to meet with clients at 9am their time (by choice of course!). At one point I worked 2 hours behind as I assisted a Canadian company. My very first online contract was with a gentleman in Germany. The nature of both jobs were similar. I assisted with writing and getting the public to view their companies in a positive light.

Some of my online tasks included: answering telephone calls, handling emails, writing articles, chatting with customers online, and mediating customer complaints. Sales, Social Media, Shipping, Order Processing, Writing, and Customer Service were my chosen virtual fields.

There was a major difference between working a contract online and working a full-time job in the real world. No real protection existed to ensure employee benefits and some jobs even had me haggle for a paid lunch break! I thought a paid lunch break was a given. Oh no, not in the virtual world!

All in all, it is what you make it. Mostly I worked for the knowledge I knew I would gain from clashing cultures. I gleaned tons of current SEO knowledge while working with a man in the UK. I had some really sweet clients who were loaded with work opportunities and completely able to handle a full-time contract. I worked with a gentleman in Australia for almost 3 years! That’s pretty long for a virtual contract. Seeing that workers from all educational and geographical backgrounds are also at the client’s disposal. Being an average worker in the virtual world does not always cut the mustard.

Not sure if anything changed since I started in 2010 but lack of labor laws reaching out to you from the other end of your mouse leaves you vulnerable to lose your job/contract at the drop of a hat! That was more than enough encouragement for persons like myself to work hard and keep current with the latest trends in my area.

Once you do your part you should have nothing to worry about. Treat others the right way and you are halfway there. “Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned.” – Nishan Panwar

Work away from work does not have to wait for horrendous events such as a hurricane. I think employees should be able to work away from work at least 2 days out of the week as a part of their work environment. Things are changing and businesses tend to lag behind the process of change. Employees know what they need to do. Even if they didn’t know what they need to do. They at least have tasks to complete. Either they can complete those task or not. If they are serious employees it should not take much for them to get the job done.

Organizing and motivating yourself to work in your own time and location is a personal challenge. It takes real commitment to work in a virtual environment. Your results will tell the truth about your productivity.

I am not so sure how many businesses are taking advantage of a virtual labor force in other countries but here in the Bahamas it is virtually nonexistent. It is like a science fiction. I have noticed less than 1 percent of the Bahamas population actively involved in virtual work spaces in prominent virtual work websites .

Recently, I was able to speak to a Toastmasters group about the opportunity to make money online. I made money online full-time and part time. I hired and I worked for others. It is a challenging environment. I would understand if most employers decide not to join the virtual employment world.

When I think about what is happening to physical companies everywhere – The Bahamas included. I think about the opportunities to work away from work. Such opportunities exist. Not only are they more profitable for companies but they are also great at producing happier employees. People can work from home. I did, millions of others did it and so can you!