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5 Ways to Telecommute Successfully and Productively

woman working from home
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Telecommuting comes with numerous tangible benefits (no more traffic jams, no more dress code, you can pet your dog whenever you want), but it can be a minefield when it comes to staying productive and keeping your manager happy with your job.

Here are some work-from-home habits you can pick up to make sure you make the telecommuting process successful:

Stay Professional

When you’re not at the office, no one can see that you’re working—and some people will assume you aren’t. So, be sure to stay professional. If you have a call-in meeting, make sure there aren’t interruptions from pets, children or television shows in the background. Create a home office so you can keep your work organized and stay focused. And even if working in your pajamas is your dream, shower and get dressed every day. To do good work, you need to be in a working frame of mind, and spending every day in Saturday-morning attire won’t help.

Set Boundaries

When you work from home, your home becomes your workplace. That means you have to set boundaries. First of all, your friends and family need to know that you are at work. If you wouldn’t do it at the office, don’t do it at your home office. The other boundary you need to set is for you. When you work from home, it’s easy to let the line between work life and home life get blurry. For your own sanity, and to avoid burnout, you need to be able to walk away from work and have a personal life. An email at 10 p.m. may make the boss think you’re a dedicated employee, but it might also indicate to her that you aren’t getting your work done during the day.

Follow a Schedule

The other way to maintain your professionalism, stay productive and keep your sanity is to follow a schedule. Start working at the same time every day. Set a deadline for accomplishing your day’s tasks and walking away. You also need to have set break times so you don’t zone out in front of your laptop. People at the office take breaks, and you’ll need them too in order to stay productive.

Stay Connected

When you start working from home, it’s very important that you stay connected. Use all the communication tools at your disposal to let co-workers and management know you are available and still part of the team. It will help you keep from feeling isolated, like you’re working in a bubble. You need to share ideas and get inspiration from other people, and sometimes you need other people to keep your mind fresh. When you’re connected, it’s very obvious to everyone on your team that you’re still working hard. You’ll also steer clear of the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome that can plague telecommuters.

Meet Goals and Deadlines

If you’re going to be a successful telecommuter, you have to work even harder to meet your goals and deadlines. In short, you have to get your work done. You don’t want your boss to think you want to work from home so you can slack off, so that means your home working has to have equivalent or better results than your office working. The best thing you can do for yourself is always meet or beat your deadlines. You’ve successfully pitched the idea that by working from home, your work not only won’t tail off, it may even improve. Now, you have to show that it’s true.

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