Teleworking is more than just working from home. It takes self-discipline, self-motivation and effective time management skills. The following are some tips for a successful telework practice:
Identify an appropriate workspace in your home. You may not need an entire room – any space that is quiet and free from distractions (including the television) is adequate. The home office should be set up in an area in your home just for work. It can be anywhere in your home, but must duplicate, in some way, your office at work, including computer, desk and work station. Ideally, it will be a dedicated space with a door so you participate in conference calls without bothering your housemates or worry about interruptions during critical work meetings.
Be sure your home Internet is reliable and has the bandwidth to do your work. Other family members at home may be on their devices when you are working. Kids doing school work or playing online games and other family member working from home can use a lot of bandwidth and slow down your Internet. Check your Internet connection and speed while others are using their connected devices to be sure you can work productively.
Your schedule should be clearly defined and known to your supervisor and coworkers. Having set hours, designated breaks and routine times for checking in with the office will help you and your colleagues work without wondering where you are.
Without a daily commute to the office,you may wish to create a new morning ritual to help prepare for their workday at home. This routine could be as simple as a morning walk, listening to music or the radio, or a morning exercise program.
Ending the workday with a ritual is equally important, because it allows you to mentally "leave work." An end of day routine could be as simple as shutting your office door or picking up your kids from daycare.
Developing a telework system can be an effective way to organize your off-site work. Here are a few examples of things you can include to help make your teleworking program a success:
Plan your work assignments before teleworking. Prepare to transport or electronically transfer any potential materials you may be unable to access from an off-site location. Create a list of tasks you want to complete and review the list at the end of the day to assess your progress.
Regular communication will reassure your manager and coworkers that you do not have to be in the office to be contributing to the work. Keep your supervisor in the loop on project status, progress and especially any concerns that may threaten a deadline. If you can't be seen then above all, be accessible.
If you have an office phone, you will need voice mail and the ability to check your messages continually throughout the day. Also, if your office uses some system of instant messaging, be available online just as you would in the office. Your continual communication with the office reassures others that you are completing your valuable work. Your continued communication will help to cultivate the trust required for a successful telework program.