7 keys to succeed in telecommuting

Telecommuting is expanding quickly. In the US for example, it grew up by 79% between 2006 and 2012 and concerns now millions of workers. When it is done correctly, telecommuting has many benefits for the employee as well as for the employer. Then, how to make this experience a success ?

Here are 7 keys to enjoy and succeed in telecommuting :

1- Take the measure of what you undertake

Telecommuting is both :

– An opportunity : you enjoy more freedom, a working environment chosen by yourself, more time with your family, less time lost in transport, in short… a better quality of life,


– A responsibility : you must show that you remain mobilized, that you are autonomous, that it is a win-win situation,… after all that you deserve the confidence you receive.

2- Go gradually

Not only telecommuting has to be practiced but also it is not suitable for everyone. So, you’d better proceed step by step :

– Firstly, make a try : it will be a good test for you but also for your colleagues and especially for your manager,

– Then, share equally your working time between the company and your home to run in the new mode,

– Finally, switch to telecommuting ‘for good’ (no more than 3 days a week) and continue to tweak your settings by taking into account respective expectations.

3- Take care of your working environment

Working environment directly impacts your productivity. Room, comfort, noise, lighting,… are some of the many factors involved in your ability to work and your concentration. So take advantage of being at home to arrange a real workspace that is dedicated to this activity :

– Prepare a pleasant place that you will not hesitate to customize to feel good in it,

– Look for peace by not settling yourself too close to living rooms (if possible),

– Equip yourself properly : good furniture, computer, phone, internet connection quality,… do not neglect anything.

As within the company, you need good working conditions to be able to work well.

4- Organize your timetable as much as possible

In telecommuting, you are much more free to get organized as you wish. It is up to you to mainly schedule your timetable. Thus you have to plan the progress of your activity by yourself :

– Build a calendar as accurate and complete as possible,

– Set rules such as working hours, breaks, time dedicated to family,…

– Book slots for specific tasks (check-in with your manager, preparation of next week, administrative duties,…),

– Share this agenda with your colleagues and your family.

You have the upper hand, so take advantage of this opportunity to optimize the organization of your work your own way !

5- Keep in touch with your company

One of the main risks with telecommuting is to gradually cut yourself from the world and, in particular, from the company you work for. In the long term, it might disconnect you from your colleagues, from the evolutions of the company, and this could even, in extreme cases, marginalize you… To avoid moving off the grid, you should :

– Remain present for your colleagues and your manager as much as possible through frequent communications, the use of new tools like video conferencing, the participation in some face-to-face meetings,…

– Continue to develop teamwork, to collaborate with your colleagues as if you were sharing the same office, keep on requesting and remain available,

– Set up a specific operating mode to regularly check-in with your colleagues, assure activity tracking with your manager,…

6- Do not mix work with private life

Another great difficulty with telecommuting is to manage to distinguish professional and private life. Staying at home makes disappear the usual border between work and privacy, and exposes you to the risk of easily switching from one to the other. To prevent this, you have to discipline yourself and pay particular attention to :

– Domestic ‘distractions’ (family, children, friends, TV, chores,…),

– The risk of procrastination accentuated by the fact that you can easily switch for a new activity on a personal level,

– The temptation of perfectionism accentuated by the fact that nobody is checking on you, and thus the risk of never stopping working.

You must discipline your relatives too, in particular your children who may not understand why you are there without being totally there… But at the same time, be careful to keep enough time for your loved ones, do not sacrifice your family !

7- Enjoy it !

Once you follow the above-mentioned rules, you’d better take advantage of the many benefits telecommuting can offer you :

– Exercise, get a breath of fresh air, go out,

– Take breaks, time for reading, change your mind,

– Take additional time for your children, for your spouse,…

There is no problem with such activities as long as they are well organized (date, time, duration) to make sure not to do them at the expense of your work. On the contrary, by improving this way your well-being, you will enhance your work and your productivity !

Originally published at www.productivity-at-work.com on July 21, 2015.

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