How to Telecommute Successfully

We love the idea of working from home.  When most people picture it, it means they don’t have to get ready in the morning.  Just a cup of coffee and a quick walk to the home office and you are ready.  Sounds fun!

But there are challenges to overcome.  I even hinted at a few in the paragraph above.  When you work from home, having plans in place on how to deal with an unexpected visitor, children, other family members and distractions is important.  In this article, we will concentrate on how to telecommute successfully.

We asked several people who are productive when working from home what they did to be successful.  Here’s what they said.

1: Know what work needs to be done every day.
If you need it, make a check list of your daily tasks.  That way you will know what, when, and in what order it needs to be done.  This helps portion your time appropriately to get your tasks finished.

2:  Office 365 and Google G Suite are excellent tools for group collaboration. 
Cloud software enables you and your company to have workers spread among multiple locations and be productive.  Whether it’s working on documents, spreadsheets, or using the cloud groupware applications in each suite, your ability to work at home and as a team will be far more efficient. 

3: Get ready in the morning.
Of course, the idea of working in your bathrobe sounds fun, but getting dressed as if you were going to the office is an important part of starting your day.   Working from home lets you use video for face to face meetings.  Along Being prepared for that is a great way to make sure you are ready for the day.

4: Make a Do Not Disturb sign for your home office.
Something simple, like a post-it, works quite well.  It’s a good way to make sure family members and other visitors don’t distract you when you are “at the office.”

5: Make sure your home office is professional, comfortable and not distracting.
This should go under the topic “Separate Your Home Life from Your Work Life.” Invest in a good desk and have a comfortable office chair.  Minimize distractions like answering your home phone or having a TV turned on.  Keeping your home life and your work life separate makes working at home much easier.

6:  Keep your regular work schedule.
In fact, write it on the post-it you stick to your office door.  Let it tell family members when you are “at work.”  Make sure you stick to those hours too.  It’s easy to fall in the hole of working way too many hours when you are working from home.   Keeping the same hours as your team is a critical of being productive.   Working long hours only burns you out.  Keep your normal work schedule.  If you normally do work-things after hours, keep on doing them, but try not to work to excess.  Your mental well-being is important to you, your company and your team.

7:  Use video chat and on-line meetings whenever possible.
Nothing is better than face to face collaboration with your team members to keep all of you on the same page.  Most laptops have video cameras.  Cell Phones and Tablets also have cameras.  Google Hangouts and Microsoft Office 365 are excellent ways to collaborate.  Use them.

8:  Don’t eat more than you would at the office.
A dirty little secret most telecommuters have is that the kitchen beckons them way too much.   Schedule your breaks just like you would at work.  Don’t sit at your desk and eat too much, it’s way too easy to do that at home.

9: Enjoy your Breaks.
A plus of being at home is simply that you are at home!  When you are on a break, visit family members, play with pets, go outside and take a quick walk.  Keeping active will help you keep fit and productive.

Need help setting your company up for telecommuters?   Give us a call!

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