Telework takes self-discipline, self-motivation, and effective time management skills. This page offers some tips for a successful telework practice.
Identify an appropriate workspace in your home. The ideal home workstation would be in a quiet, distraction-free room that can be reserved solely for work. But if that is not possible, you can set up an effective workstation anywhere in your home that is relatively quiet and free of distractions and that has space for everything you need to do your job — computer, monitor, supplies, and so forth. You will need a space where you can participate in work calls and video conferences without being distracted or interrupted by others in your household.
Be sure your home internet is reliable and has the bandwidth to allow you to do your work. If multiple people in your household are using the internet at the same time, some tasks — such as uploading or downloading files — may take longer than they would otherwise. Test your internet connection and speed while you and others are using your connected devices at the same time to verify that they are adequate to allow you to work productively.
Your schedule should be clearly defined and communicated to your supervisor and co-workers. Having set hours, designated breaks, and routine times to check in with the office will facilitate collaboration between you and your colleagues.
Without a daily commute to the office, you may wish to create a new morning routine to help prepare for your workday at home. This could be as simple as going for a walk, listening to music or the radio, or doing a workout before you log in for work.
Ending the workday with a routine is equally important, because it allows you to mentally leave work. Your end-of-day routine might be picking up your kids from day care or just shutting down your computer and going to another room.
As you’re able, plan your work assignments before any telework days. Prepare to transport or electronically transfer any materials or files you will need and may be unable to access from home. Create a list of tasks you want to complete, and review the list at the end of the day to assess your progress.
Regular communication will reassure your manager and co-workers that you do not have to be in the office to do your work. Communicate with your supervisor frequently about your progress and the status of the projects you work on, and promptly convey any concerns that may threaten a deadline. If you can’t be seen, then above all, be accessible.
Check your email and voicemail messages frequently throughout the day. If your office uses an instant messaging system, be available online just as you would in the office. Ongoing communication with the office reassures others that you are fully engaged in your work even when you are not on-site. This helps cultivate the trust required for successful teleworking.