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Businesses are embracing remote workers because it can increase productivity and save money. Workplace flexibility also makes for happier employees, which means less sick time and turnover. Yet pitfalls for remote workers are undeniable. Some telecommuters do, in fact, turn into slackers, take advantage of their situations and wind up getting fired. Remote workers are at a disadvantage because for many managers out of sight means out of mind. Further remote workers miss social opportunities with coworkers and they don’t get the all-necessary “face time” others in the office. Even so, there are ways to win over your boss and be a successful, valauable remote worker.
Here are some tips:
1. Get Organized
If you can’t handle the basics — meeting every deadline, being on time, producing professional, quality work, then it’s unlikely that your manager will trust you to handle your workload remotely. To make the case for being allowed to work from home, demonstrate outstanding organization and attention to detail, as well as an overall sense of professionalism with everything you do. Each time you follow through on one of your projects, you will gain more trust.
2. Check In with Your Manager Frequently
In the corporate world, if you aren’t seen or heard, you aren’t thought of for new opportunities. Make sure that your manager sees your name, views your face or hears your voice every day, especially to hear about your work results. Be mindful of your manager’s preferred method of communication. Often, age-based stereotypes hold up: if they are much older, you should probably call, whereas with younger managers, newer technologies may work better.
3. Connect with your colleagues
Yahoo’s decision to bring remote workers back to the office was do in part to the idea that face-to-face would foster more collaboration and cooperation. Today we have the tools for remote workers to stay connected. Just doing your job isn’t enough to be successful as a remote worker. Your coworkers need to know what you’re working on and you need to be accountable in meeting any deadlines or work projects they’re counting on you to meet.
4. Take Breaks and Get Fresh Air
Many home-based workers go hours at their desk while on-site workers often take short breaks. They get coffee, talk with a coworker down the hall or go for short walk. Working at home requires that you work, but taking breaks goes a long way to keeping your physical and mental energy up. For every hour you work, take a 10-minute break.
5. Work in a Productive Space
Experiment with different work spaces to find one (or several) that work for you. Your dining-room table, the living room, your neighborhood Starbucks may do the trick. Just be sure that the space is conducive to the focus and resources needed to do the job. You may want to use a variety of work settings to avoid boredom and keep the creative juices flowing.
6. Use Collaboration Tools
One of the remote worker’s biggest challenges is to prove to managers and co-workers that you’re actually working instead of wasting time. By using collaboration tools everyone knows what each other are working on, can make comments or changes and insure everyone is working on the same page.
7. Respond to E-Mails Quickly
This is a simple tip — and an important one. Make replying to your managers’ e-mails a high priority. Get back to them promptly so that they trust you’re working, not sleeping or playing video games. And when you respond, be professional, clear and concise.