The 14 habits of successful telecommuters
TV off? Check. Coffee brewed? Check. Power playlist on blast? Check.
While this routine might not exactly mirror your own, most remote workers have established some sort of ritual to be as productive as possible while plugged in. Even though remote work is proven to increase employee engagement and improve that elusive work-life balance, it comes with the caveat of falling prey to some serious distractions. Twenty-five percent of the current U.S. workforce telecommutes regularly. With that number slated to rise, it is important to understand your own habits to avoid falling into the “Netflix and chill” trap of working remotely.
Contributor Natasha Burton recently chronicled 14 habits of the most successful telecommuters in her article on Fast Company. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Invest in the right technology
- Set aside time for physical activity
- Err on the side of over communication
After reading this article, the “err on the side of over communication” stood out. Perhaps working at a company dedicated to empowering business communications had some influence. But, it’s very interesting to consider the importance of communication to staying productive, particularly from the perspective of a fully remote employee. For example, as a member of the office space, a good driver of productivity is remaining accountable to my teammates. Even if they’re working remotely that day, we still have that established in-person rapport. It is a touch trickier for a permanent telecommuter, however. Without a manager swinging by the cube to check on deadlines, some telecommuters may not feel the same pressures of keeping their nose to the grindstone.
The right communication tools can help bridge the gap. Remaining in close contact with teammates through voice, messaging, and video can build that same sense of accountability. While over communication may be perceived as intrusive to a teammate across the office, in a remote setting it helps get across your thoughts clearly while inserting your unique voice. It helps humanize yourself to your coworkers, so instead of them receiving a faceless email asking the status of a project or a report, they know you and your work style that much more intimately. Now, this isn’t to say you should bombard coworkers with IMs and voicemails. Instead think about proactively maintaining a consistent dialogue over chat or email with colleagues so nothing gets lost in translation. I also like to update my status within our messaging tool to remain transparent, whether I’m grabbing lunch or in a meeting.
Staying productive while working remotely can be a challenge. But the secret to overcoming that challenge is recreating many of the elements that make office life successful. Whether it be building relationships with your coworkers or having a dedicated work space away from the couch, the easier it is to replicate the office experience the more you’ll find yourself maximizing your potential.