While many companies are allowing their employees to work from home, it does require trust on their part that workers will do that job. Overall, studies show that telecommuters are equally, if not more productive than their onsite counterparts. However, telecommuters often need to do more to show employers they’re working, because out of sight is out of mind. Here are some things you should NOT do when working at home as a telecommuter.
DON’T KEEP UNPREDICTABLE WORK HOURS
While sometimes flexibility is possible, it’s very easy to slide into an informal work schedule, which can impact your productivity as well as your connection to the home office. One of the quickest ways to get your supervisor/manager wondering if you are providing the quality work expected is the realization that you aren’t working during your set work hours. A good rule of thumb is to only take time off during the work day as you would in the office.
DON’T BE UNAVAILABLE DURING THE WORK DAY
One of the perks of working at home can be flexibility that allows you to take care of personal things when needed. Unfortunately, employers expect to be able to reach you during your set work hours. If your boss tries to reach you when you’re supposed to be working and you don’t respond, he may assume you’re playing instead of doing your job. Just as you would in an onsite job, let your boss know if you’ll be away from work to take care of personal issues.
DON’T LET KIDS AND PETS IN THE REMOTE OFFICE REGULARLY
This is a tough one as it can be hard to keep children and pets at arm’s length when you work at home. However, your employer will expect you to work in a quiet, distraction-free environment. Some work-at-home jobs, such as in customer service, include having a quiet office in their job descriptions. Having a separate workspace with a door, and work hours that your family abides by is the solution.
DON’T LOSE TOUCH WITH COWORKERS
One of the biggest negatives of having remote workers is the tendency for telecommuters to be isolated from the rest of the work team. Close-knit work groups communicate regularly. As a telecommuter this can be done through online project management programs, video conferences and teleconferencing.
Though it might be tempting to withdraw from the world when you telecommute, resist that urge. Especially for introverts who prefer solitude, working at home provides a peaceful work situation. However, too much isolation isn’t good. While you’ll want to turn off distractions such as messaging and email when you need to focus (let your boss and team know if you do this), check in and leave lines of communication open when you’re doing less involved work.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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