How to telecommute / work from home effectively?

What is telecommuting?

Telecommuting, also called working from home, remote work, telework, or teleworking, is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel to a central place of work, such as an office building, warehouse or store and work from home, coffee shop or a place of their choice. Below listed are a few points to help you telecommute / work from home effectively:

  • Take pride in your work.
  • Start early – you can get a lot done with a fresh mind.
  • At the home office, no one’s watching. You are responsible for what you do.
  • Communicate expectations with anyone who will be at home with you so that they don’t distract/disturb you.
  • Pretend like you are going to office. Don’t stay in the nightdress/pyjamas. Structure your day like you would do in office. This helps you to be focused and productive.
  • Choose a dedicated workspace – Setting your work space apart from your home space allows you to better delineate the two, and lets your brain know when it needs to be in work mode or home mode.
  • Set goals for the day, create a To-Do list and commit to doing things. Using a simple notepad and pen works better. Write down and strike off as you finish a task.
  • Set deadlines for tasks.
  • Work in Sprints – to allow yourself dedicated time to a task at hand, work in sprints of no more than an hour at a time before you take a break. This way, your main task gets your entire focus for the allotted time, and then you can take a break for a few minutes to recharge.
  • Save calls for the afternoon.
  • Use technology smartly, to stay connected. (Ex. Skype, Slack, Hangout, Microsoft Teams)
  • Communicate Deliberately. Remote workers have to be better at communication than their office brethren.
  • Communicate well and often. Check in with co-workers and the boss several times a day.
  • Find the team’s golden hour – it makes sense to find the time when the majority of the team is available, so that you can schedule daily standup or all-hands meetings or other important events during that time.
  • Be virtually present in meetings.
  • Every 1 hour, take short and clear breaks. Get up and get outside to the balcony, for a while. Coffee breaks and lunch allow for some respite and time away from the desk and screen.
  • Follow the 20/20/20 rule – look away from the screen, every 20 mins, to something 20 feet away, for 20 secs.
  • Don’t go to non-work appointments in the middle of the day.
  • Make it harder for yourself to mess around on social media and TV. Resist the impulse.
  • Resist the urge to snack often.
  • Set office hours. Pick a definitive start and finishing time each day.
  • Have a shutdown ritual – this could be anything, from writing up what you did during the day and planning what you want to achieve tomorrow.
  • Do not forget to update the status for the day with the team and the manager.
  • Follow a routine – waking up, exercise, breakfast, logging in to work, lunch, logging out of work, evening family time, dinner, sleep. Routines help you to be organised.
  • As a manager,
    • Be proactive. Reach out to your team members regularly to set clear goals and expectations, offer support and assistance, and show you care about them as people, not just employees
    • Provide the right tools for the employees
    • Communicate clearly
    • Set clear expectations
    • Track progress
    • Be transparent
  • Remember to stay healthy,
    • Exercise regularly
    • Clean home creates a positive environment and helps focus.
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Eat healthy
    • Maintain proper hygiene
    • Get some fresh air, take a few deep breaths
    • Maintain a good posture
    • Take short breaks, quick walks, and do a few stretches
    • Put aside your devices at night
    • Have enough sleep at night and feel sufficiently rested

Every remote worker can have their own version of this list that helps them work to their full potential and be 100% productive for their team.

PS: I had compiled and shared this with my team 2 years back, when we had to work from home for a few days. Sorry that I do not remember the exact links or the sites, to provide reference here. Re-sharing it now for the benefit of all those who are privileged to have an option of working from home.

One thought on “How to telecommute / work from home effectively?

  1. 👍 good work Ashok, one suggestion- if you can list the points in the order of the day, that would be even more nicer to read and at the end, reader can feel on how to plan their own’s.

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