Advice for Employees
Some simple advice can go a long way in helping telecommuting employees successfully adapt to their new routine. Telecommuters need patience. After a few days of ups and downs, some people might feel tempted to quit their new way of working and return to a regular office job. To counter everyday frustrations, remote workers should commit to at least six months of telecommuting before deciding to quit.
Making the commitment helps workers focus on their new roles as a telecommuter without dealing with an ongoing internal debate about the merits of the new work culture. When employers and employees establish good communication habits and have clear expectations, they can solve most of their problems without giving up on telecommuting.
Mental attitude can make or break the telecommuter. Feelings of loneliness and neglect can tempt telecommuters to set a pattern of whining and complaining. The telecommuter must stay active, refusing to allow negative thoughts to set the tone for the telecommuting experience. Proactive telecommuters will use available channels to discuss their feelings and find constructive solutions before negative attitudes cloud their perspective.
Negativity can spread like wildfire in any workforce, so telecommuters who stay positive when talking with coworkers will help boost the morale of the entire company. Telecommuters must fight interruptions. The presence of other household members, knocks on the door, personal phone calls and emails, and other factors of the home environment can cause telecommuters to lose their focus and time.
Productive employees must implement strict guidelines for working hours that will keep distractions to a minimum, so they can get their work done correctly and promptly. Another good piece of advice is to attend meetings and other events at the company office. Telecommuting requires flexibility on the part of managers and employees, so homeworkers should prepare to commute to company offices when necessary.
Telecommuters often work harder and longer than their conventional counterparts, but too much work can become detrimental. To reward themselves for their hard work or just to get needed rest, telecommuters should quit work early or take a long lunch, just as they would do if they worked in a traditional office setting.
Workers with children should not succumb to the temptation to reduce childcare costs by watching children during the workday. Skimping on childcare sets the stage for the same types of problems that would result if employees brought their children to company headquarters during the workday.
Telecommuters should treat their home office as their workplace and conduct themselves in a serious, professional way. Remote workers should dress appropriately, answer their telephone, and perform their duties, just as they do while working on company premises. Home-based workers should save personal tasks and leisurely activities for their own time, so they can do their job during business hours. A definite quitting time will help telecommuters maintain a healthy balance between their work and professional lives.
Advice for Employers
Supervisors, managers, and executives might, at first, feel frustrated when technical difficulties, communication failures, misunderstandings, and other problems seem to threaten the success of their telecommuting program. A strong commitment and a proactive attitude will help employers quickly resolve issues as they arise and reassure telecommuters of the continuity of the program.
Companies look for ways to recognize all of their employees for their good work, but they must especially recognize the achievements of telecommuters to avoid forgetting their least-visible employees. Recognition helps provide an incentive for future performance and gives the telecommuting program publicity that can attract new participants.
A typical company struggles with communication, even in the conventional workplace, so communication should rank high on the list of concerns regarding telecommuting. Managers and supervisors should use platforms such as Google Hangouts or Skype to make communication convenient and frequent.
Employers should carefully research the work history of telecommuting candidates to select the best possible people for telecommuting work. Employees that have previous telecommuting experience, possess time management skills, and have historically done well with self-directed work often have the best chances to succeed as a home-based worker.
Although the telecommuting program depends on employees who have the required skills, character traits, and work habits necessary for remote work, the program also depends on managers who understand the reasons for telecommuting. When managers have a vision of the benefits telecommuting offers the company, they will work harder to make sure their telecommuters succeed in their roles.
Other important advice for employers deals with technology. Companies should not try to skimp on their IT infrastructure. Instead, they should invest in up-to-date equipment that will provide the bandwidth necessary for video conferencing and calling, audio conferencing, and remote workplace platforms.
Businesses should also spend the money necessary to get sufficient software and licenses, so daily operations do not suffer from workers who cannot access the needed resources to do their job. Finally, businesses should implement the tools and training necessary for data security.
With a growing portion of their data traveling across the Internet, companies should implement VPNs, firewalls, and other tools to avoid costly and embarrassing security incidents. Adequate security measures cost much less than the liability of data breaches that result from lax security.