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Advertising is a service business, especially for those of us on the account management side. I spend most of my time strategizing, communicating messaging points and creating deliverable deadlines between the creative team and the client. Much of this communication is done in-person.

Not for the next two weeks. As of today, I have set up shop 2,000 miles (give or take a few) from my desk and computer and most of my clients. Some of them are remote and will notice no difference. I’m the cheery voice on the phone and the chipper e-mail they receive in their inbox. But for some of my clients I’m the person who brings them donuts or sits in on five-hour meetings to lend some insights. For these people, and me, these next two weeks will be interesting. 

There are also the coworkers to think about. What about them? Those who “enjoy” the sound of my 3-inch heels clacking down our concrete hallways (okay, maybe they don’t enjoy it, per se, but you get the point). I meet with our designers daily, just dropping in unexpectedly (ask Darren, he just loves it!) to share some feedback from a client or some impending deadline that may or may not have slipped someone’s mind. And what about the art of the creative brainstorm? This feeding frenzy of sharing creative ideas via voice, pen, crayon — whatever means necessary. Can this be done as a virtual head? I guess we are about to find out! 

Working remotely has become a fairly normal thing for many industries. Advertising hasn’t been one of them. So consider this the Jeanne Experiment. Everyday I will blog and tweet about how working remotely went. I’ll be totally honest and discuss the positives and the negatives. One negative has already surfaced — timezones! This is one that already exists having clients in different areas of the country, so maybe I can’t blame this one on working remotely, but tomorrow I will be taking a conference call at 6 a.m. because the client is in the Middle East. Get the coffee brewing!

So, tomorrow I truly start working remotely. I’m armed with VPN to access the server remotely, iChat to communicate with my design team quickly, Skype to meet with clients “face-to-face” and my office phones being forwarded to my iPhone. Let the remote games begin.

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