Human Resources and Benefits, COVID-19

Nine Tips for Successful Telecommuting

More than ever, employees are taking advantage of working from home. Recent events and cultural changes make remote options essential for every business. Some reasons are obvious. Everyone feels more comfortable at home. And no one can beat a commute as short as from the bed to the laptop.

If you’re taking the leap from business-office to home-office, you should consider how you’re going to work efficiently. Working from home is work and shouldn’t be any less productive than working in an office complex. How do you make sure your work is efficient and valued at your company? Here are nine tips to help you get your remote adventure started.

  1. Know the company’s remote policies. This is essential if you want to start remote and stay remote. A breach in policy could end future remote options. Make sure you understand hour requirements, workspace requirements, data protection requirements, and the company’s code of conduct. 
  2. Dedicate an office space. Working on the couch in front of a TV sounds fun, but it’s distracting. Find a dedicated area in your home for work and nothing else. Preferably somewhere you can close the door.
  3. Think ergonomically. The folding chair from the kitchen might work as an office chair at first, but it can grow to be a literal pain in the neck. Consider getting a comfortable chair. Also, remove obstacles from your desk that may distract or hinder your productivity.
  4. Consider your technology. Many companies have IT requirements for remote workers. Make sure you or your supervisor get those requirements handled right away. Also, consider what technology may improve your job. A second monitor, laptop dock, keyboard and mouse, and a comfortable noise-canceling headset can make a world of difference.
  5. Create a schedule. Don’t let your morning routine crossover with your work routine. Dedicate a time when you’re going to log-in, handle emails, do your work, take breaks, plan for the next day, and when you’re logging out. Time Management Ninja suggests setting a timer to boost productivity. 
  6. Learn the company’s communication software. Most of us can handle emails. But are you ready to host a video conference? Make sure you know the ins and outs of the company’s chat, VOIP, and presentation software. 
  7. Over-communicate. At home, you lose face-to-face interaction with your coworkers. You can’t lob ideas over the cubicle wall or knock on your supervisor’s door for help. Take advantage of your company’s chat. Ask for help in a group channel, send a new remote worker a friendly private message, form a new group to tackle specific tasks or obstacles. And if something’s urgent, use your phone and call right away. 
  8. Take advantage of home. Turn up your favorite tunes or radio. Plan to cook a fresh hot meal for lunch. Let your pet cuddle you when you need a quick break. Working from home is still work. That doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the perks your home has to offer.
  9. Go home by logging off. Rest is essential for keeping up productivity. But how can you rest when your home is your work? Don’t lose track of time, and learn to unplug. Make sure there are clear expectations when you’re logging off, get away from your workstation, and enjoy the rest of your day.

COVID-19 has been an eye-opening experience for everyone. Jobs that used to be in-office only are now at home. Virtual conferences have replaced in-person meetings. The water-cooler is a chatroom. During this period of unknown, it is essential to be adaptable to a new remote way of work.

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