About 4.3 million employees (3.2% of the workforce) work from home at least 50 percent of the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics. These individuals would probably be the first to admit that working remotely has pros and cons. Luckily, there are effective ways to manage the ‘cons’ of working from home.
4 Ways Employees Can Make Telecommuting More Fun and Productive
Working remotely can be great since it promotes a flexible work schedule and eliminates a commute to and from work. On the negative side, telecommuting can be lonely and downright boring. Here are a few ways employees can make telecommuting more enjoyable and effective:
1. Get out of the house — There is nothing inspiring or fun about being homebound. Working from home all the time can make anyone go a little stir crazy. To get the most from telecommuting, get out of the house. Take your laptop to a public library, a Starbucks or a friend’s house to get a change of scenery. This can spark creativity and help you genuinely enjoy working remotely.
2. Make communication a top priority — You might be working remotely, but that doesn’t mean you are not an incredibly valuable team member to your employer. To be the best team player you can be, make communication a top priority. “Don’t try to use only one tool to connect to your colleagues,” wrote a contributor to Fast Company. “Email, chat, phone, web and video conferencing each have their own place. Pick a communication tool that will make sure the type of message you need to convey is heard and understood.”
3. Minimize distractions — One of the best things about working from home is not having to go into the office. Paradoxically, this is also one of the worst things about telecommuting.
Working in an office can be distracting at times, but not necessarily more so than working from home. At the office, people know you are there to work. At home, people may not respect your role as an employee nearly as much or give you the space you need to get things done.
To manage distractions when working from home, try the following:
- Set home office hours.
- Hang a “do not disturb” sign on your home office door while working.
- Turn off your phone for set blocks of time during work hours.
- Ask that noise be kept to a minimum while you are working.
- Let family members know when you will be on a conference call and ask for privacy.
- Purchase a white-noise machine to insulate yourself from outside noises.
4. Designate an office space — Do you have a designated office space at home? If not, you will feel you are working in chaos and it will be harder to be productive. By all means, carve out an office space for yourself at home.
“Designate that space as your office, and nothing else,” suggested a writer for Entrepreneur.com. “Make sure to have a clutter-free environment to maximize your organization and productivity. Have folders to store files and keep an inventory. This way you save time (and money!) looking for things. A tidy office space also helps you look professional during video conference calls.”
Telecommuting can be a dream come true for some people and a challenge for others. For most individuals who work remotely, it is a combination of both. What are some ways you make telecommuting work for you?
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