You have decided Remote Work is for you. You’ve traded in your business suit for yoga pants, cancelled your parking spot and joined a local gym. You are self-motivated and goal oriented. You are ready to transition from working in the office to working from home.
How hard can it be? William Arruda shared that “most individuals who have never worked from a home office think it’s as easy as setting up a desk and chair and making sure they have reliable internet access. But going full-tilt into telecommuting involves much more.”
Remote work can be fantastic or a disaster. Working remote successfully is dependent upon your mindset as working at home is still working. The time you invest in planning for the transition, is time well spent. The following steps will get you off to a good start.
STEP ONE – ESTABLISH YOUR REMOTE WORKSPACE
- Designate a quiet, private, space that is adequate to accommodate equipment necessary to complete your work free from distractions.
- Children of all ages may be unable to understand your needs for uninterrupted work time. Discuss your needs with your family and gain their support.
- Organize your workspace to maximize productivity and maintain security.
- Arrange in advance the set-up of your workspace (Wi-Fi, phone, laptop, printer, headset, etc.).
STEP TWO – SET EXPECTATIONS WITH COLLEAGUES
- Schedule times for connecting with your manager to discuss projects and deliverables.
- Share your remote work schedule with colleagues and team members to identify best times to collaborate and ensure seamless interactions.
- Use communication methods that support effective collaboration through instant messaging, email, video, text or phone. Find what works better for different groups.
- Understand the level of support that will be provided by IT, HR, etc.
- Clarify the business supplies that will and will not be provided (Laptop, printer, phone).
STEP THREE – MAKE AN EFFORT TO STAY CONNECTED
- Make it a priority to build and maintain rapport with your coworkers. The more you get to know your coworkers the more effective you can all be working together.
- Leverage technology to effectively manage communications, such as Skype, voice mail, email or instant message. Be mindful of different time zones and different communication preferences.
- Fully engage during conference calls or meetings by actively contributing. Do not place the phone on mute and proceed with other tasks.
- Make the most of in person business events and meetings to maximize your exposure. Create opportunities to interact with key leaders and managers to enhance professional growth.
STEP FOUR – AOVID COMMON PITFALLS
Careful planning will help ensure you get off to a great start. Also, avoid common pitfalls that can be detrimental to your success. Here are some areas to manage.
- Household tasks such as laundry and cleaning should not be completed during work time.
- Personal errands and appointments should not be scheduled during working hours.
- Remote Work is not a solution to daycare needs. Childcare and remote work are not to be combined.
- Communicate professionally and without interruptions. A barking dog is an interruption so if you have a pet, consider Doggie Daycare.
- Do not fall into the trap of just finishing “one more thing”. Burn-out and poor performance can result from not knowing when to stop.
- Maintain a schedule that supports taking physical breaks from work as you would in a traditional office setting. Walk around the block to stretch your legs or think through an issue, remember you are already in your yoga pants!
- A change in scenery can be helpful. If you begin to feel isolated, head to the coffee shop with your lap for a fresh environment. The buzz of activity will fuel you.
Now you are ready to demonstrate value by remaining focused on work objectives and staying connected to your manager and teammates. Even though you are working remote and not physically in the office, you have the ability to become a strong presence in your organization!