Effective Telecommuting

November 27th, 2012

With fuel prices volatile and technology making connecting to your office even easier, workers will no doubt find the allure of telecommuting growing stronger. While it has its advantages, it also has potential pitfalls. So before you work from home, do your homework:

  • Have a dedicated work space. Setting that space apart from heavily-trafficked areas can minimize distractions and send the message that “work is done here.” The space should be comfortable and well-lit, but not so comfortable that you are too relaxed to get anything done or are tempted to nap. 
  • Get dressed for work. That may sound silly or obvious, but even sending yourself the subtle message that it’s time to work can help your mindset. 
  • Be prepared for an adjustment period. Your productivity may surge or drop briefly as you begin telecommuting, but if you can’t adjust after several months, you may want to re-examine if you can telecommute effectively. 
  • Set goals for the day. You may feel directionless (especially early on) without the workday routine of meetings and contact with co-workers. It’s important that you provide your own framework for the day’s activities.
  • Expect some resentment from co-workers. If telecommuting is not an option for everyone in your company, you may have to deal with chiding or outright acrimony from those who have to come into the office every day. The best way to silence the talk is to remain productive. 
  • Take breaks. Yes, you can get up and stretch or eat or run an errand. Breaks are healthy no matter the work environment. Just keep them short and infrequent. 
  • Be realistic. Working from home may provide schedule flexibility to make caring for children or elderly parents easier, but you cannot expect to work and take care of a dependent effectively. 
Even if you're not chained to your desk, staying connected to your work is crucial to making telecommuting work for you. 

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