With technological advances, flexi-place and flexi-time has become a reality, increasing the number of professionals/entrepreneurs opting to work from home. Telecommuting or working from home saves commuting time, increases family time and saves cost for both the employer and the employee. On the other hand, it means working without supervision and the presence of colleagues, therefore requiring oodles of self-discipline. Some guidelines for increasing productivity:
Designate a work area: While work spaces get automatically defined at the office, it takes planning to demarcate them at home. Ideally, this area should be away from the din of a running household.
Chalk out a workable schedule: Explain your work timings to all the concerned parties, i.e. your spouse, your children and your employer and inculcate self-discipline to stick with it. If unable to do so, you will be working over the weekends, staying up late or waking up early to meet deadlines, blurring professional and personal boundaries and leading to exhaustion.
Make investments: Buy a high-speed modem, hands-free phone, branded headphones and a high-definition camera for video conferencing. Sign an annual maintenance contract for all equipment, ensuring prompt service that is taken for granted at the office.
Maintain good posture: While it’s tempting, resist the urge to take work-related calls propped up in your bed. A well-supported body at the desk suffers less stress, ensuring a better functioning mind. Invest in a desk and an ergonomically designed chair.
Maintain body weight: As cubicles don’t come fitted with stocked refrigerators, your meal timings get automatically defined. On the other hand, home tempts you with an extra cookie/slice of leftover pizza!
Be professional: Convey enthusiasm while speaking with clients and colleagues, a challenge as ringing doorbells, screaming kids and demanding pets shatter the peace. Punctuality, commitment and a strong work ethic are important for success, both at home and at the office.
Network and socialise: Office-goers enjoy hidden benefits like coffee with colleagues and water cooler gossip sessions while telecommuters are isolated from all these. Fill this void by stepping out for a few meetings or staying in touch with colleagues’ online. Additionally, volunteer to participate in the company’s CSR initiatives.
Update knowledge resources: Read newspapers, watch news channels and subscribe to online journals.
Retain professional look: Shabby dressing and poor grooming hamper productivity.
The success of telecommuting is driven by an individual’s personality and if mastered, it can become a very gratifying way to make a living.