Changes to technology affect the way that we find our jobs, and how we do them. It can also affect where you do your work. Telecommuting is one of the most popular perks that you may be able to negotiate. While working from home has some serious advantages (cutting commuting time and costs, comfortable work space, ability to schedule the cable guy) it can become a massive drain on your energy and job satisfaction. Here are 4 tips for surviving your telecommute:
Schedule Face Time: if you are telecommuting 100% of the time, it is all too easy to feel disconnected from the rest of your team. Instead of just scheduling conference calls or communicating via email or text, make sure that you schedule some face time with your colleagues every day. We feel more connected to other people when we can see their faces and read body language; comprehension increases and so does our willingness to collaborate and compromise.
Keep Regular Office Hours: Working from home can be like a casino in Vegas – time ceases to have any meaning. Keeping regular office hours, or at least tracking your work time, can help you to maintain that balance. The temptation is there to work longer or later, especially if you live alone, and the separation between your work and home life can become terribly blurry, and you run the risk of burning out. A regular 8 hour schedule will help you to keep to task, and still have a life at the end of the day.
Set Goals: Twitter, LinkedIn, email, texts, YouTube, blogs… they are awesome, but they can suck your time. Start every day with your must do goals, and then list out the rest of your priorities. Telecommuting is like the honour system, so you need to make sure that you are hitting your targets. To do that, you need to set and review them on a regular basis. More than that, you need to share your work with your colleagues and supervisors. Try uploading finished files and updates to the cloud application of your company’s choice so that others can see and access your contributions. Sending your supervisor regular reports on your work will help to ensure that others are aware of your work and progress.
Mix It Up: Try working out of your local coffee shop once in a while, maybe the library, or if you are an entrepreneur you might consider renting a hot desk at a local business incubator. Changing things up without having a lengthy commute can be a great compromise to the isolation of working by yourself all day, every day.
Telecommuting can be awesome, but it can also be lonely, isolating, and bad for your health if your butt is glued to your chair and your eyes never leave your laptop! Fill up your health & social meters by taking a class at your local gym, walking the dog and meeting the neighbors, or just consider moving every hour or so. You’ll feel better, and you’ll be even more productive than you were before.
What are your top telecommuting strategies? The comments are open, and I always love reading your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org.