4 Steps to becoming a Successful Telecommuter


Telecommuting is becoming more common place as it is thought to foster creativity by giving  greater flexibility to employees. One reason telework is becoming increasingly popular is that it allows organizations to recruit from anywhere, and fill positions with the best candidates regardless of location. Also, employees can choose where/when they work with the aim of producing better results. Schedules can be adjusted to bring more balance to their personal and work lives. Telecommuters are measured on whether they ultimately deliver results and there is much less scrutiny in the process. Making your living from the comfort of your own home may seem like the perfect set up but there is an art to it. Following on from our post last week (5 ways to working more effectively in a Virtual Team) so here are some pointers to ensure you are as productive as you can be. 


1. Make sure you communicate

It doesn’t matter if you are working from home or in the office, you have to communicate well. Make sure you are regularly communicating your progress with colleagues.

Communication guidelines should be arranged as they emphasise how you will work daily to resolve issues, report progress, assign work, attend virtual meetings, timelines , conflict, and what to do if deadlines or meeting are missed, and more. Guidelines like this will allow virtual team members to interact in a uniform manner and not just when an issue arises or during formal team meetings. Keep revisiting these team operating agreements at the beginning of meeting. Question how well systems are working? Do you have certain practices that are not working? When used properly, communication guidelines will improve how the virtual team will interact. To be effective, they must become living documents that are understood, realistic, used, updated, and shared by all virtual team members.  


2. Act as if a physical part of your home is the office

Having physical space to carry out your work is one thing. Whether you treat it like a work-place is another. You will have distractions in your home that can easily cause you to lose focuse and keep you from completing work tasks. Therefore, it’s very important to treat your home workspace as if it were a physical office.

Top tip: The separation of “work mode” and “play mode” can be triggered with a simple change of clothing.


3. Work within a structured routine

Separating work hours from personal time is difficult to do and this is where self-discipline is important. Set yourself a strict regimen and do your best to stick to it. It can be difficult because telecommuters don’t have the structure that physical commutes bring and so there is no tangible separation between work and play unless you mentally create it. 

Start your day with your pre-work ritual. This will be different for everyone. For example, you could start it just as you would a normal day at the office. Whatever your routine is, just make sure you have a rigid structure so that you know when to start working.


4. Take short breaks away from the house.

The additional pressure not to be perceived as “slacking off” may drive those who work from home to exceed their hours.Telecommuters tend to work hard and fast and this can result in burnout. Keep an even pace, take exercise breaks and engage in physical meetups with colleagues. Also, try to keep going in to the office regularly no matter how brief the visit. Sometimes, slowing down can speed up your productivity!

Working from home can be very rewarding. However, that’s not to say that telecommuting is easy. If you keep referring to these four basic tips, you should be able to avoid the commute without a loss in productivity .