If you’re a telecommuter, getting into work mode may sometimes be a struggle. After all, you’re not in the office; you can wear pajamas all day and take as many breaks as you need without someone watching over you. Being a telecommuter can often be more difficult than working in an office. Managing your workday requires much more self discipline and self-motivation than if you were in an office.
Being able to manage the day’s tasks on your own, with very little supervision from management can be daunting when you are surrounded by laundry, dogs barking and other distractions. Working from home requires:
- being flexible and adaptable
- being open to new challenges
- an understanding of technology
- strong communication skills
- proactive reporting
- good planning and organizational skills
- a willingness to ask for help
- be action-oriented
- be autonomous
- a willingness to work unconventional hours- in case of different time zones
Once you have these skills or are working towards them, the next step to be successful is to develop a daily routine, in order to have somewhat of a ‘normal working day.’ When you follow a routine the workflow can run much smoother.
One way to do this is to determine what needs to get done:
- Make a schedule or list of tasks
- Factor in extra stress or any surprises that may occur
- Make your schedule realistic and leave room for last minute changes
Figure out a balance of when your tasks need to be accomplished and what will help your day run most smoothly. It may take time to develop a routine that works, but stick to it.
Since you don’t have the ability to check in face-to-face at any given time, trust between you and your manager is very important and can sometimes lead to breakdowns.
No one wants a manager who micromanages, so don’t give them a reason to. Micromanage yourself. Hold yourself accountable for your goals and the attainment of those goals. You may feel compelled to communicate every detail of your work day, as a way to assure your manager that you haven’t been shopping online for two hours, but hold off and think about this for a minute. Maybe a better way to create trust is through concise and to the point communication. Spend more time on the task, rather than updating them every few minutes, so that you can give the job your full attention. However, you should never delay communication because you can’t just walk down the hall to chat with someone. Pick up the phone, send an email or use Gchat to foster that same chat.
In the absence of a manager looking over your shoulder, you should do yourself a favor and start your day by at least getting out of bed before beginning work. If you have it in you, maybe even put on clothes- clean clothes. Simple steps like getting dressed will help you get into a better work mode and, even better, look professional during video conferences.