Three common mistakes of teleworking
Understanding the challenges of this increasingly popular approach to work
Content provided by Lea Green, PGi Social Media Manager
Article originally published on PGiGreenBlog.
Are you telecommuting yet? If you are, you may already know that this increasingly popular practice is not without its challenges, especially as you more become entrenched this alternative work approach.
Experiencing some of the pitfalls common to telework is a necessary part of the growth and development of your practice. A heightened level of awareness and compensatory behaviors are necessary to overcome these impediments and achieve a productive and satisfying work-life balance.
1. Establish healthy boundaries
When telecommuting, do you find that you often work longer hours but don’t get much accomplished? How is that happening? Maybe distractions are slowly creeping in. You’re letting those five minutes needed to throw towels into the washer turn into two hours of doing all your laundry. Or you just can’t bring yourself to shut the door on your home office. Or your home office doesn’t have a door. Are you having a hard time concentrating while you’re at home, feeling like you have ADHD and pulled in more directions than you would be in a traditional office environment? Try recreating those self-imposed limitations at home, placing stricter boundaries on yourself and your home office by managing your time and your tasks with simple tools like to-do lists and timers.
2. Be available to your coworkers and clients
Do your coworkers have a difficult time getting in touch with you on the days that you work from home? Be sure to open all methods of communication—phone, email, IM—and make them readily accessible to your coworkers. Including contact information in your email subject line or leaving a notecard with this information at your office desk represents a courtesy that your office-bound coworkers will appreciate. If you are difficult to reach, the distance between you and your coworkers is magnified, productivity is affected, and work relationships can suffer. Video conferencing tools like iMeet can help bridge the distance telecommuting can create by enabling you to meet face-to-face with your coworkers and clients, regardless of geography. iMeet also lets you know, via email and text alerts, whenever someone enters your iMeet room; in addition to your standing status calls, you will also be available to brainstorm on the fly at a moment’s notice.
3. Don’t let yourself become invisible at the office
This mistake, which can actually be a bit difficult to discern, might also make you feel a bit paranoid. I’ve talked with other telecommuters who agree that, rather than being a superpower, invisibility is a curse at the workplace—a “secret” they don’t openly discuss. By not being present in the physical work space, employees miss out on the social aspects and corporate culture of office environments—birthday gatherings, water cooler conversations, lunchtime getaways, and even casual cube chats. Sacrificing these benefits as a teleworker often compounds the feelings of isolation, impedes opportunities to network within the company, and can even threaten advancement. If you feel that you’re missing out on career opportunities by not being in the office, try being a hybrid worker and telecommute part-time so that you maintain some physical presence in your office environment. Also try to get involved in projects that promote a “feel good” vibe, like company newsletters, intranet conversations and internal sweepstakes.
Even though telecommuting can pose some specific challenges to those of us lucky enough to have the opportunity to adopt the practice, there are also specific things we can do to mitigate their impact.
Good luck... and let us know of additional challenges you’re finding as well as the successes you’re having as a teleworker in the New Economy!
The content above was provided by PGi and is not subject to MNN Editorial Review. MNN is not responsible for the accuracy, objectivity or balance of this content.