Over 20 years of experience working remotely as a sales professional and consultant honed my ability to maximize my productivity and maintain some semblance of a social life.
I want to share key tips with you if you find yourself telecommuting / working remotely.
This first tip is probably the most important piece of advice I or anyone else can give you:
1. Set boundaries with your family and friends.
- Your office simply moved from where you normally worked to your home office.
- Your home office is still your OFFICE – You are working. You are not “at home”.
- Your family and friends must respect that, although you are home, you are working and not open for interruptions, laundry, nor running errands.
2. Commit to establishing an updated work routine
- Create a workable work routine for your new work location.
- Routines are good for establishing healthy work habits and health habits.
- Working from home means you reclaim time from commuting – Use it wisely.
3. Dress for work
- I fought this for a long time, opting to work in my PJs or shorts or sweats or whatever. I since learned that dressing like you’re “going to the office” will put you in the correct mindset, and be a positive for your mood and attitude, and productivity. Seriously.
- This is not a huge deal, and perhaps optional, but not optional if you want to set yourself up for success working from your home office.
4. You’re at work – Do NOT answer your home phone.
- ASSUMPTION: Your new “work number” will be your cell phone or you have some other dedicated line for work-related phone calls.
- Working from your home office means you are working, so leave your home phone alone. You don’t answer your home phone when you’re at the company’s office, do you?
5. Make sure you’re working from some area at home that offers privacy and has some resemblance to an office.
- Your couch is not an office.
- Your floor is not an office.
- Your deck is not an office.
- Your bathroom is not an office.
- Your office should have a desk, comfortable chair, phone, printer, and computer, among other office-like items.
6. Take scheduled breaks
- For your health – physical and mental – schedule short breaks in your day to stretch, move, even to grab some fresh air.
- This will also help sustain your productivity.
7. Touch-base with your manager/boss and co-workers once in a while
- Being remote, you lose that face-time, so make it up with some contact throughout the day until you all get comfortable with the routine, and you all adjust to working apart from each other.
8. Keep your work files organized and ready to transport
- Have your paper files in one place, organized, and easily accessible to grab-n-go in case you have to meet with a customer, your manager, or your team.
- Have your digital files stored on a company shared drive or on some cloud drive for the same reason as above.
There are other great tips and tricks out there. These are the basics.
If you have questions about how to make the best of telecommuting, feel free to hit me up. If you want to explore more tips, or tips for certain arrangements, let me know and I’ll do another article with additonal tips, or I’ll do a deep-dive into any specific tip.
Working from home is double=edged sword:
If you’re a goof-off, the temptation to goof-off or do non-work-related tasks will be strong, and you could jeopardize your job or career path.
The other side of that sword is that you can literally work from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm every day in a blink of an eye. That’s why this next bonus tip is so important:
9. Schedule an end time to your work day and keep an eye on the clock
- I have found myself clocking in 12+ hour days too often, which wasn’t healthy for my body nor state of mind.
- There will be days when you will need to clock long hours, but those should be the exception not the rule.
- Scheduling an end time does not mean you just walk away from unfinished tasks or projects. It does mean you are being mindful of your workload and priorities.
I hope these tips help you out if you’re new to telecommuting! There are pros and cons to the arrangement, and ultimately you still have a job to do. This can be an arrangement that can help you shine to your employer while reclaiming the hour lost to commuting for yourself and your family/loved ones.
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by Robert Kwasnicki
Founder, Digital Marketing Partner