Everyone who works remotely knows they are the envy of their commute-loathing friends and family. But remote work has its own unique set of challenges. Even the most successful telecommute workers face potential setbacks so it’s important to learn to adapt your habits and routine to prevent them.
Communicate. The biggest productivity challenge for those who telecommute is communication. In an office, it’s easy to walk down the hall and pop into someone’s office. Though your team members may live in many different time zones, ensure everyone’s work hours overlap. Schedule meetings at a regular interval — every day or every week — to update everyone on your progress. Make phone calls and use tools like IM and Skype to communicate frequently.
Find balance. Many remote workers have difficulty separating work from play — especially when they work out of their home. The best solution is to physically separate the two aspects of your life. Create a dedicated space, like a home office, where you work exclusively. Shut the door to avoid distractions. It also helps to follow a strict routine and set work hours. Don’t make it a habit to check e-mail at all hours of the day and don’t work late unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Avoid interruptions. Crying babies and barking dogs can easily get in the way for those who work from home. In fact, many mothers choose to work remotely in order to spend more time with their children. Schedule a few hours a day for silence and ensure all phone calls and meetings take place during those hours. You could hire a babysitter to play with your kids while you work or find a part-time daycare close to home.
How do you manage your remote work?