Making Telecommuting Work For You, Part I

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Telecommuting is a word that evokes various responses.  Mention working from home to an employee and you’ll likely see a dreamy look come into their eyes.  No more hour-long commutes, no more dress code, and no more vending machine lunches!  Suggest telecommuting to a manager, however, and often you’ll see is skepticism.  How will an employee stay motivated?  How can you track their performance?  And their fears may not be entirely unfounded.  For an employee who wishes to work from home, whether for a few days a week or full-time, telecommuting is not always as simple as it seems. But by being aware and prepared, a telecommuter can remain a successful, productive employee while avoiding the pitfalls of working from home.

Set Expectations at Work

You and your employer may have very different expectations of how your working-from-home should, well, work.  One large area of miscommunication is often what your expected working hours will be.  Even if your job function is largely results-based, some employers need and want to track specific time worked.  Also, find out if your new “flexibility” includes allowing expanded access to you by your employer and clients.  Now that the line between work and home has been blurred, some employers can feel more inclined to interact outside of traditional non-working hours.  Therefore, determine upfront your schedule and the best way to track your hours worked.

Working from home also can make it harder for your boss to evaluate your work performance.  As strange as it sounds, employers can often have a prejudice about employees who work from home, even ones who successfully meet deadlines and quotas.  Keeping in constant contact with your supervisor and arranging regular face-to-face meetings can go a long way in warming your boss to your efforts.  Update them regularly with not only your results, but how you are achieving them. Networking with coworkers and management will be even more important than in the past, not only if you hope to achieve advancement, but especially in this age of layoffs.  Attend important meetings in person, as well as work functions and conferences.  While working from home can mean fewer distractions from office drama, you don’t want to be so far out it’s hard to get back in.

Also, what about the office equipment you are used to at work?  Don’t assume your employer will supply you with a work computer, internet, telephone, printer, etc.  Those items can quickly add up if you have to add or update them in your own home to be able to perform your job.  Even if you already own supplies you feel you can use, be aware that this will cause them to more quickly age or depreciate.  To prepare, first have a one-on-one with your boss and the IT department to determine what tools you will need and/or receive.  Second, to avoid confusion or having messages blocked when contacting vendors or clients, make certain you may still use your work email address from home and consider using

Though telecommuting can include some challenges, by discussing and negotiating the expectations of an employer, a telecommuting employee can ultimately offer far more pluses than minuses.  In part two, we will discuss how to make certain expectations at home are also arranged to help a work-from-home employee remain successful.




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Dave Smith has 99 articles online


About the Author: Dave Smith is a Marketing Associate at Itellas, a leading provider of ID spoofing services. For more information about spoofing, please visit .>

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Making Telecommuting Work For You, Part I

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Making Telecommuting Work For You, Part I

This article was published on 2011/08/16