7 Tips for Productive Telecommuting
February 10, 2010
If your area has been hammered by winter's icy fury and your employer offers the opportunity to work from home, then consider these basic tips for telecommuting success. The snow storm that's being called "Snowmageddon"
- Secure a designated space in your home to serve as your work area. Neither the kitchen table nor the couch in front of the TV is an ideal place to work. "Choose a space that is your place and customize it for you and your needs," Challenger, Gray and Christmas' @Work
- Work out the logistics. Talk to your boss about what you'll need and who's going to pay for it. The Associated Press
- Make a plan. Have a list of tasks to accomplish. "When you start your work day, don't just start working. Plan out what you want to do, picking out a few important tasks or projects, and structure your day efficiently, broken down into hour-long blocks," FreelanceSwitch
- Set limits. "Set a starting time and ending time for work, or for several blocks of work if that's better for you. However you structure it, always have a finish time," FreelanceSwitch continues. Set a time limit for your task, and stick to it. "If you don't finish within that time limit, try scheduling more time for it later." Without a time clock and anyone watching over you, log your time and work, if not for your employer or your client, then for yourself.
- Communicate with your organization on a regular basis. Use work e-mail and the phone, but also instant messaging (e.g., Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, etc.) to let colleagues know what's going on in near-real time. "Keep your supervisor in the loop on project status, progress and especially any concerns that may threaten a deadline," Telework!VA
- Minimize distractions. "A telecommuter needs to be able to schedule realistically, prioritize and be able to stay focused on work despite distractions like children, pets, even the refrigerator," AP says. If you can, turn off your personal phone and avoid your personal e-mail. Ask anyone else in the home not to interrupt you during your work time. Challengers' @Work blog recommends a "keep out" sign. "The best teleworkers [... can shutout interruptions and anything that could be distracting," Career Trail Guide
- Take breaks. "Stay on a schedule that would be in place at the employer's office," Suite101