In this article, we’ll look at a telecommuting definition, as well as a telecommuting strategy that maximizes productivity, while minimizing stress.
Finally, we’ll look at a few items that should be on everyone’s telecommuting checklist.
To start off, though, it pays to establish a definition of telecommuting.
A Telecommuting Definition
Telecommuting simply means working remotely from an office.
It is often used interchangeably with terms such as remote working and teleworking.
In many cases, all a worker needs in order to telecommute is a working computer and internet connection.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, telecommuting has skyrocketed in popularity – largely out of necessity.
However, there are many reasons to consider teleworking:
- Employees are more productive and engaged
- Stress levels decrease
- Organizations can save money
- Telecommuters can collaborate with and manage team members across the globe
With the right strategy, in other words, telecommuting can be very beneficial for both organizations and employees.
To realize such benefits, however, it is important to develop a telecommuting strategy that helps minimize the negative effects of telecommuting, while maximizing the positive ones.
A Telecommuting Strategy: Control Your Environment
For remote workers, there are a number of obstacles that can interfere with productivity.
By controlling – or at least managing – the environment, it is possible to tackle and minimize many of these problems.
To create an environment conducive to working, take control over factors such as:
- The physical space. The physical workspace itself can make a big difference for some people. For instance, many remote workers find it difficult to work in common areas of the home, such as the living room. Part of the reason is that there are distractions ready and waiting – another reason is that we associate certain areas with certain activities, such as eating or sleeping. If possible, carve out a space or even an entire room to use exclusively for working.
- Time. Discipline is a must if remote workers want to remain productive. Though it can be tempting to sleep in or procrastinate, these problems can easily snowball over time. The results can increase stress, decrease productivity, and more. One way to manage time effectively is by creating a strict schedule and sticking to it – just as if one were actually commuting to the office.
- Distractions. Distractions can come in many forms: children, pets, friends, family, noise, the television. It is important to notice which distractions are hindering productivity, then minimize those as much as possible. It can even help to make a list of possible or actual distractions, then develop rules for mitigating them.
- Digital skills. Today, perpetual learning is becoming the norm. Since the digital workplace is continually evolving, workers of every industry must continue to learn new software, new workflows, and new business processes. When it comes to telecommuting, this means that workers should stay abreast of technology advances that can impact them – and they should find ways to train and learn job skills remotely.
Boiling these factors into a checklist is one helpful way to ensure that you have taken the proper steps towards telecommuting effectively.
A Telecommuting Checklist
To ensure that you are being as productive as possible, it pays to create a telecommuting checklist that includes the following items:
- A dedicated workspace. Dedicated does not necessarily mean “permanent.” It means that a space serves only one purpose – work. In some cases, this may simply mean setting aside a desk to work at. In others, it may mean devoting an entire room exclusively to work. Each person has unique needs, so it is best to know one’s own needs, then create a workable solution.
- Rules and boundaries to minimize distractions. Distractions can usually be avoided by isolating oneself in a workspace. However, when working from, family members can also prove distracting. In this case, it is important to set boundaries and rules that cleanly separate work time from leisure time. Incidentally, these same rules can be applied to oneself, if the distractions such as social media end up interfering with productivity.
- A schedule. A daily schedule should have a start time and a stop time. It should also include appointments, break times, lunch time, and so forth. Calendar apps and time tracking apps can both be useful, both for sticking to a schedule and monitoring productivity.
- Social time. Many remote workers find that it is difficult to unplug. But this problem, like many others, can be overcome through discipline. Blocking out time for social time, exercise, and other daily-life activities is a must. Establishing boundaries and rules for oneself, in other words, is an excellent way to ensure that one does unplug.
Once all of these items are checked off, then it will be much easier to work from home efficiently and productively – while still staying healthy.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.