Do you work from home or on the road often? Do you love “work from home Fridays” where you can drink your coffee in your sweats while responding to emails? So do we. Working remotely saves hours of time on the road that can be better spent getting the kids ready for school or taking that early morning conference call and then immediately hopping on your laptop to work. We also know that teleworking can be great for a more flexible lifestyle but it can also present some challenges if managers do not set expectations of what is expected and if teleworkers don’t create productive work habits.
Here are a few recommendations for maintaing a productive telework environment:
- Provide clear direction. Share expectations with remote employees and what constitutes success. If you are the employee, seek out clear direction from your manager to establish specific goals.
- Keep a normal morning routine. A survey from CareerBuilder.com found that 30 percent of telecommuters tend to work in pajamas – 41 percent of females and 22 percent of males. The truth is you'll probably work better if you treat your mornings as if you were going to the office. When you’re dressed for work, you’ll get your brain in work-mode. When you stay in your pajamas, it still feels like it’s okay to lay on the couch with the TV on. Get up, get dressed, make breakfast and transition nicely into your workday – from the home office or kitchen table.
- Secure remote connectivity. Employees need to be able to securely connect to the headquarters’ network from home or any other location.
- Incorporate video. Telepresence is a great way to stay connected and preserve relationships with co-workers and managers. In our recently released white paper, Video at the Core of Government Telework: Overcome Resistance with Face-to-Face Interaction, we took a closer look at several elements of working remotely, including why managers often resisist telework and the benefits of incorporating video for a successful telework program.
If you’re still looking for more motivation, check out this oldie-but-goodie from Inc. magazine: “8 Work-From-Home Rules.”
As we continue in an uncertain economy, telework maintains its appeal as a cost-control strategy for state and federal government organizations. As the whitepaper states, setting up employees to work productively from locations other than the office saves real estate and commuting expenses, and supports continuity of operations plans and workforce recruitment.
Just be sure to maintain motivation and prove that teleworkers can be tremendously successful.