Overcoming The Tedium Of Telework And Maintain Professionalism
Posted on Oct 10, 2012 by Rachel O'Sullivan, Director of West Coast Operations | Subscribe to this RSS feed |
Four years ago, I was handed a fabulous work opportunity. Besides the benefit of working in an amazing company full of talented people, I also had my first experience teleworking.
I have lived on the California coast about 40 miles north of San Diego for nearly 20 years. I gave up years of my life tackling Interstate 5, commuting to my job. If you don’t know about San Diego traffic, let me tell you, it’s just a parking lot during rush hour (morning and evening).
Being given the chance to telework has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Imagine this – you get up in the morning, brush your teeth and head down to the kitchen for coffee. Before I even get dressed for the day, I have read my email, worked on projects, and made phone calls to the East Coast – all in my jammies.
It is truly a benefit working from home – most of the time. I’ve talked to others who work from home and there are a few teensy drawbacks to an otherwise perfect situation.
For example, I started my work morning by cleaning up a little dog mess in my office (did I mention I have a St. Bernard so there’s no such thing as a little dog mess?).
Another drawback is the assumption of family members who think:
- Mommy is home to make my life better
- Mommy is available to make a snack
- Mommy can find a matching pair of socks
- Mommy thinks of an award-winning science fair experiment
Oh, and don’t forget about coming up with fabulous ideas for dinner.
You must train the others who live in your home to realize that you are being paid to do work for someone else, not be at their beck and call. Here are a few of my own suggestions that have helped me be truly successful working from home:
- Have a dedicated office, preferably one with a door. Your workspace and your home space should be kept separate. If home matters needing your attention constantly distract you, working from home may not a good fit for you.
- Establish a routine. It can be tempting to sleep in, but you’re on the clock. Get up the same time every day.
- Although it isn’t necessary to dress up to work from your home office, some people have said that dressing as if they’re going to work out of the home makes them look, feel and act more professional.
- Schedule events outside your home office. This is particularly important if you’re in a position where you should be meeting people. Schedule business lunches, join community groups, network, etc. Sometimes teleworking can be a little lonely, so these events serve not only as business development opportunities, but also as little pick-me-ups.
- Build a network of others who work from home and have coffee with them occasionally. These people know what you’re going through.
- Exercise daily and observe regular mealtimes.
We know several of our colleagues and fellow small business PR friends use a similar telework model. If you are a fellow teleworkers, tell me how you schedule your day. What tips do you have to make things run smoother, get the job done and all the while, keep you happy and healthy. I would love to hear any other advice!
Rachel is Vox Optima’s premiere event planner and trade show master. Along with all her experience managing successful shows and trade exhibits, Rachel most likely has several post-graduate degrees in schmoozing and persuasion (nah, just kidding). You can learn more about Rachel at her staff profile page or connect up with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or via email.
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