Are You Cut Out to Work from Home?
Working remotely has its perks: The commute shortens to wherever you last set down your laptop. There’s no dress code. You aren’t confined to your fishbowl of a cubicle.
According to Gallup, 60% of U.S. companies let their employees work from home at least part of the time. But the freedom to be unfettered from the office can have its challenges, writes Kate Ashford in The Muse. Here are five potential issues:
Where Does the Time Go?
Working from home can exacerbate time management difficulties. If you are easily distracted in your office, there are also a multitude of distractions at home or the local coffee shop that all seem to be calling for your attention. Ashford suggests tracking your time using software like TimeCamp or Toggl to get a handle on where your hours are being spent. “No matter how you manage your minutes, it’s a good idea to build a schedule for yourself that you can stick to—and is transparent to your boss, especially if your hours aren’t 9-5 or within the same time zone,” she writes.
Unplugging at the End of the Day
Make an effort to separate your work and personal life. Just because you can check emails at any hour doesn’t mean you have to. To cut back on after-hours work, recruit your partner or a friend to give you a nudge if you’re still, say, on Slack after 6 p.m.
Staying Connected to Coworkers
“When you’re not in the flow of in-office traffic, you’re going to miss impromptu lunches, coffees, or spontaneous deskside brainstorms,” Ashford says. “So it can occasionally feel like you’re not getting the full picture or like you’re the last to find out about things.”
Harness technology like Zoom and Skype to hold video conferences when needed or connect via messaging apps.
At the same time, while you’re working at home (or at Starbucks), your internet speed or cell phone signal may be slower or unreliable. Test your devices before the next conference call or video chat.
Making Time for Face Time
Particularly for those who often work remotely, being out of sight really can mean being out of mind for your supervisor and colleagues. Keep your boss up to date on your work on a regular schedule, such as one-on-one meetings a few times a month or weekly recaps of your accomplishments. Heading into the office to attend team events such as monthly meetings or lunches can also keep you on everyone’s radar.
About the author(s)
Barbara Ruben was a senior content creator at CASE.