Arment Dietrich

Five Tips for Working from Home

By: Arment Dietrich | November 23, 2011 | 
37

Telecommuting

Today’s guest post is written by Molli Megasko.

Whenever I tell people I work from home, they respond with an “ah…”

But being a telecommuter means more than wearing your PJ’s all day (although, uh, that is a really great perk).

As virtual companies are on the rise, you might be presented with the opportunity to work remotely. And if you’re a person who procrastinates or loses focus easily, working from home might be more of a challenge than you realize.

I’ve been working remotely for more than two years now and can sum up my experience into five tips that will help you telecommute successfully.

  1. Phone and Skype – Make these communication channels you new best friends. Sure, email and social media work for getting the message across but true conversations and brainstorms happen vocally. I make sure to have a few calls scheduled each day whether with clients or colleagues.
  2. Start good habits– If you’re new to working from home, the first few months are the most important. The way you work now will most likely be the form you take months later so wake up early, get a coffee, and get to your computer. Don’t turn on the TV or start other bad habits because it will become too easy to do later and your boss/clients/peers will notice.
  3. Overcommunicate – You might find it annoying but I send weekly updates to my boss, weekly statuses to the company, and weekly check-ins to my clients (on top of my daily calls). It’s hard to feel part of a group when you’re miles away. By overcommunicating what you’re working on, you stay top-of-mind and build trust.
  4. Treat yourself – While you may not have the luxury of free office supplies or happy hour with co-workers, remember the pros of working from home. Take little breaks after you finish a project or assignment. Go play with your dog or read to your kids. Just make sure to set time limits and use those breaks as rewards for something done at work.
  5. Know how to turn it off– This is the hardest thing I had to learn and frankly, I’m still working on it.  My computers and office space are in my kitchen, and I live in a 600 square foot apartment in Manhattan. You do the math. I find it too easy to keep working when my husband is working late or nothing good is on TV. This is what they call burn out, or as I call it “hermit-crabbing.” While you’re setting your habits, remember it’s also important to shut down and work on your work-life-balance.

If you’re a telecommuter or have worked remotely, share your tips here on how to be successful while working virtually.

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