Telecommuting - Overcoming the Challenges

By Dana Dillard
October 24, 2011 • 1 comment(s)
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When I was offered the option a few years ago to telecommute (or work from home) several days a week I was ecstatic. I envisioned sitting in my P.J.’s with a cup of coffee, my IP phone (which allowed it to look like I was at the office to my customers) and my laptop just working away and being very productive plus get to sleep an extra hour! Hello, Jackpot!

The actual scene was this..drop kids off at school, go for a run, stop by grocery store, get home, friend drops by have a cup of coffee, throw in some laundry, answer the home phone and catch up with family about my newfound flexibility, look at the clock and…it’s lunchtime = crunchtime and frantically, try to fit in hours of work before the bus runs. I did this thinking I’d ease into the telecommuting transition and take some time for myself because I deserved it right? WRONG! Business slowed down with this formula and I knew if I wanted to keep some wiggle room I had to prove I could be more productive than ever. So I did and it worked. Maybe these tips will work for you too.

 1. Get Up and Get Out! Get up at the same time you normally would if you were driving to the office. Get dressed the same way. Leave the house. Telecommuting doesn’t mean you have to work from home. Go to a nearby coffee shop or somewhere that has free WiFi that is a productive environment. My office is a 25 minute commute across town. If I don’t have a meeting or a need to be there I work from coffee shops, book stores, etc. I never from home because I’m not productive that way. An added benefit is I’ve actually met other business people in these environments and turned them into customers. Technology had enabled us to work from almost anywhere. Softphone apps and VoIP services let you work from your mobile phone just as you would your desk phone. These are referred to as Mobile Offices. 

2. Shhh! Mums the Word! Don’t advertise that you are “telecommuting” or working from home. No one (and I mean no one) takes this serious. Trust me…your family and the PTA doesn’t understand this concept. As far as they are concerned you are at the office unless you notify them otherwise. Respect your working hours whether it’s 8-5 or 9-2 and treat them as you would if you were sitting at a desk with your boss standing over you. Otherwise, your “flex” time may be considered “off” time or “their” time. 

3. Cell Lock Down! Keep your cell phone in your purse or briefcase unless you are using it to communicate for business. Don’t text, check Facebook or play Words with Friends! You wouldn’t do that if your boss (or customer) was standing over you would you? These are distractions and time stealers. 

4. Keep a change of clothes in the car! I have found that effective “telecommuting” does actually allow more “me” time so once I’m finished working I actually can go for that run or stop by the store knowing I’ve put a day’s work in the books.

Telecommuting really can give you some extra time in the day, which we all need, without being less productive if you and others respect your work day.

Have more tips? Feel free to share!

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