Marijane Funess September 4, 2012 | 12:54:02

How To Work, Not Shirk, From Home

Currently 5.9 million people work from home. While 37% of people feel more productive working in an office and 50% of bosses still oppose working from home, more and more people are expected to do so in coming years. How can telecommuters best convince employers that they are working not shirking from home? Here are some tips:

Understand your employer’s expectations and meet and beat them
At the outset, clarify where your company stands on telecommuting and what’s expected. Make sure your boss knows you are consistently meeting and/or exceeding expectations. Be accessible, (with boundaries) and be proactive. Find the best way to communicate your efforts and results to your employer and do it often! Track your hours to gauge true productivity and be prepared to fine-tune based on results.

Create a work space that works for you
It is critical to your success as a home-worker to have your PC (with remote access to all your work files and email), workstation, phone, printer, and all other supplies organized around you. Your space should be relatively free from distractions such as family, pets, home telephone, the television, the mailbox, the refrigerator or even an attractive view – all can act as saboteurs! Go one step further, dress like you are going to this office, it will help psyche you up for your routine.

Set boundaries with your family and friends
This is pivotal not only to your success at working from home, but to your personal relationships! When you first begin telecommuting, friends and family may not understand the demands on you. A friend whose sitter cancels may call you for a favor, or you may get invitations to lunch or tennis, which, although tempting, will not fly with your work schedule. Set a tone for family and friends as well as good work habits for yourself.

Set specific work times or goals: Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and beyond
Goals are important to keep you on track, as well as to validate your progress. Working at home can be very positive in terms of autonomy and independence, but it can be lonely and unfulfilling without the regular feedback that comes from working in an office. The telecommuter needs to feel confident he or she is doing what is necessary to be viewed as successful and to feel secure in his or her job. Establish benchmarks and reporting schedules to avoid the paranoia that can set in without the office feedback you’ve been accustomed to.

Any telecommuting tips you’d like to share?

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