With improved technology, the workforce has become more mobile and telecommuting has increased by more than 100%. Not only does telecommuting provide benefits to companies and workers with an improved work life balance, but telecommuters are more likely to be engaged at work. This lends itself to higher profitability, engagement and an increase in productivity.
However, sometimes disconnections can occur. I have been telecommuting since I had my child over four years ago. As a result, I can feel disconnected to what is happening in the office and have sometimes been overlooked when important announcements have been made.
If you are part of a mobile workforce there are some things you can do to increase your connectivity and make your experience as successful as possible:
Don’t miss a deadline
This goes without saying. It is very important to make sure that you are never perceived as not putting in a full day’s work. Not only will this affect your ability to work from home, but it will impact other co-workers requests as management will lose faith in this type of working arrangement.
Use all the technology available to you
Make sure you use tools such as Lync, Skype and Yammer to participate with your colleagues and be available when they need you. If you are never available you will be seen as not working. Since you are not in the office you should take advantage of being able to instant message your colleagues often so that you are seen as easily contactable.
Make sure you communicate the hours that you are working to your colleagues. You can do this by keeping your diary up to date and make sure that your instant messenger is linked to show when you are busy and available. Part of the beauty of working from home is being able to work your own hours so that you can do extra family duties such as picking up the kids, or taking two hours out of your day to run errands. Just make sure everyone knows what you are doing. I always put my instant messenger on “Working from Home” when I am at home and “In the office” when I am at my desk. This then ensures that anyone looking for me knows whether they can just drop by my desk or send me a message to get in contact.
Visit the office
You should visit the office regularly. I visit the office once or twice a week. This ensures that I get to catch up with my colleagues and keep that connection with the organisation. In the organisation I work for, there are new people starting every week. I have found that when co-workers have met you in person they are more likely to connect with you and seek your for any new projects or initiatives.
Put your hand up
If your boss is seeking someone to perform a task, make sure you put your hand up to show that you are part of the team. These tasks keep you in mind for any other opportunities that come up. If you don’t take advantage of these because you are working from home, you could get overlooked for promotions and the interesting and more exciting work might go to one of your colleagues.
Working from home can be a great way to achieve a great work/life balance. However, you need to be careful that you take time to switch off. I am certainly guilty of checking my emails at odd hours of the morning and on weekends. It can be really hard to disconnect, so make sure you do have regular time out, otherwise it ends up becoming a 24/7 job instead of being the ideal role that you once perceived.
Do you work from home? Do you have any other tips or stories you can share with our readers?