MAKING THE MOST WHEN WORKING FROM HOME
Updated: Nov 30, 2018
SOME PEOPLE FEAR IT, SOME PEOPLE WANT IT, AND SOME PEOPLE SIMPLY DO NOT TRUST IT. LET ME SHARE MY TAKE ON MAKING THE MOST OF A TELECOMMUTING ARRANGEMENT.
Too many workplaces and bosses are overly cautious about productivity when their teams work from home. You can understand how a lack of direct visual oversight may result in questions about what is getting done and when it is being completed. These days a lot of people tend to covet the work from home roles - maybe it is the insane traffic and commute to the office, or making a schedule work with child care, but more and more people find this flexibility a huge perk (even if it is only one or two days a week). So, how do you make it work?
There are a lot of misconceptions about working from home. In my role now, I have the privilege of working out of my house about half of my time (and the other half I spend on the road travelling). I say privilege, because it is! This opportunity is not available to everyone and thankfully my team is led by a results-focused leader who measures results and not the time you clock in and out.
Here are my top tips for making the work from home culture work for you (and your boss).
SET A STANDARD SCHEDULE
Your colleagues need to know when to expect you will be available, so setting a standard schedule that you follow 90% of the time is a good idea. For example, I usually wake up around 7am, I am online by 7:30am and try my best to close my laptop by 5:30pm. Since I work with peers across different time zones, a standard schedule also helps to set boundaries for meetings and "end of day" deadlines (since end of day on the West Coast means something different).
Setting a standard schedule also builds a routine for yourself. While there are times you may need to adjust your working hours, setting boundaries of when you are and are not available is important for those workaholics. If you do not set these boundaries yourself, do not expect someone else to set them for you!
YOU NEED A DOOR AND A WALL!
Not everyone has an extra room for a dedicated home office, but having a space where you are able to close a door is important. Conference calls, performance reviews, difficult conversations, and confidential customer discussions are just a few of the things that will become part of your environment, so make sure you have a space where you can have privacy.
Video conferences are quite common with remote teams. Don't fight the video chat, no one looks good on a laptop webcam! Do be conscious of your background though. Your best bet is to pick a plain wall. Even if you work out of your bedroom, face your laptop against a blank wall - your peers do not want to see your bedding.
GET YOUR FAMILY ON BOARD
My husband also splits his time between working from home and being on the road. While this means sometimes we get to have lunch together, it also means potential conflicts when someone is speaking too loudly on the phone (always me...) or entering or leaving the house during the day.
Make sure your family members know what "working from home" really means. For example, turning on the blender at 8am to make your smoothie when the other person is on a call, may not be the best idea and a hand signal may be needed.
MAXIMIZE IN-PERSON TIME
When you are in the office or with your peers, be sure to make the most of it. Take time to connect on a personal level by asking about family, stopping by the water cooler to discuss a new project or meeting the new person who just joined the team.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR LOCATION
Be sure to reap the benefits of working from home (and do not feel guilty about it!). I used to rarely made time for even a lunch break when working from home but I realized I was not making the most of my work arrangements and would have to rush around after work to get household basics done.
Just know that it is okay to throw in a load of laundry at 10am between meetings, take a break to zip out to a doctors appointment, or unload the dishwasher while you are watching a webinar. Deliver on the results you need to for your company, and no one will care if you have clean laundry at 2pm (except your family and they will love it!)
I would love to hear how you make working from home work for you!