“Wow. You know you’ve made it when you get to work from home,’” my sister told me. I’ll be the first to admit that I was very excited about the idea of teleworking; I made sure to have all of my paperwork turned in so I could start as soon as I was allowed. That initial excitement hasn’t faded.
I love working from home. I do it as often as possible and I do it well. But for those who may not feel quite as confident in their teleworking skills, let me share with you what makes me an excellent teleworker.
- I am productive. Everyone has work to do. Many of us have too much work to do. I make sure I accomplish at least a couple of tangible items throughout my work day. This provides top cover for those things on my to do list that might be less concrete: reading through large documents, conference calls, etc.
- I am attentive. I don’t ignore my coworkers and I definitely don’t ignore my supervisor. I pick up my phone. I answer emails. I sign in to the inner-office communicator and respond to messages when I’m free.
- I am not easily distracted. Just like we have a lot to do at work, we have a lot to do at home. Sometimes I may be tempted to do a couple of quick household tasks while I’m home but I resist the urge and focus on my work. Instead, I use the time I would have spent commuting to accomplish those chores.
Those are some of the qualities that make me a good teleworker in my supervisor’s eyes. But what can you do to improve your telework experience for you?
- I set aside a dedicated space in my home. I found a space where I am comfortable working and devoted that space to work. This helps me focus and turns my mind towards work.
- Taking breaks is important. When people are at the office we take breaks. I go for a walk. Some of my coworkers get coffee. Others go visit coworker friends. When I telework I’m not going to pop in on a coworker for a visit but I do take breaks.
- I make a delicious lunch. I pack my lunch when I go to work. One of the perks of working from home is having access to a full kitchen. Appealing food makes a big difference.
What do you like about working from home? What are some barriers that you have encountered? How did you deal with those? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.
Jocelyn is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.
Great blog post Jocelyn! I personally do not telework but my sister works in IT and can telework at least twice a week so I am definitely going to share this with her! The few times that I do telework (snow storms or maybe when the Pope comes in town next week) my number one tip is to not work in bed or in a loungey-position – because while I am very productive, getting too cozy just makes me want to take more – or too many breaks. Thanks again for sharing!
Jocelyn! This is really great advice. I happen to be teleworking as I’m reading this and you’re absolutely right about making sure to stay connected and keep focused. 🙂
Great tips Jocelyn! I wish all teleworkers were as conscientious as you! Next week, with the Pope’s visit, is a great time to practice telework for those of us in the DC area. Good practice for the first snow storm that paralyzes our fair city.
Great article about the “War on Telework” (http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/tech-insider/2015/09/war-telework/121343/). Despite all the years that we have been teleworking, there still seems to be some resistance from management. Most of this has to do with how we measure performance/productivity/results and a lack of trust.
Really great point. Teleworkers have to be careful not to give management any reason not to trust them; at the same point if you’re a manager, trust your employees until you have a reason not to.