How to Work Remotely, While Getting Ahead at Work

How to Work Remotely, While Getting Ahead at WorkBy Holly Reisem Hanna

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting at Yahoo. While I don’t agree with her decision, as I think it’s a one size fits all solution to larger and more complicated issues, than just working from home. I do think that remote workers need to be cognizant of the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind”.

So how do you show your peers and your boss, that your remote working status is not negatively impacting your work? And even more importantly, how do you telecommute, but still get ahead at work?

Here are some telecommuting tips for getting ahead at work.

The Right Mindset:

If you want to get ahead as a remote worker, you need to get into the right mindset. This includes creating regular office hours, being ruthless with your time, and treating your home-based business or telecommuting job as a professional. Act as if you were working outside the home, stay focused and be on task, so no doing laundry or household chores during office hours.

Clear, Concise Communication:

You will need to clearly communicate to others when your office hours are, and let family and friends know that you’re unavailable during these times. Having a separate office with a door can help to filter out distractions and noise, while leaving you free to work uninterrupted. If you don’t treat your job professionally, your family and friends will have a difficult time taking your work-at-home status seriously. Learn to say no, and get dressed in the morning, the more professional you are, the easier it will be for others to respect your remote working status.

Take Initiative:

Be proactive about phoning and e-mailing your manager to stay in the loop. A phone call, email, or Skype can be a good way to keep in touch, but it’s no substitute for good ole face-to-face interaction, so make regular arrangements to meet with your boss and team. Along with this, you’ll need to be very responsive to incoming communications, try and answer phone calls as they come in, and emails in a timely manner. There is such a thing as email perception, so the faster you can respond, the better impression you make. Also sit down with your boss and create a set of ground rules and performance related goals for working from home. Having a detailed system in place will help to monitor your progress, and will let your co-workers and boss see exactly what you’re working on, taking the guess work out of what you do all day.

Go the Extra Mile:

Volunteer to take on challenging projects. By taking on projects that may be outside of your normal realm of expertise, you show individuals that you’re able to take initiative and be diverse, which lends itself to new opportunities down the road. Make sure to show your boss what you bring to the table, by being creative, thinking outside the box, and over delivering. And remember don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. By asking questions you can clear up misunderstandings, gain clarity, and make better decisions – not to mention divert potential disasters that could cost you your job or remote working status.

Cultivate Team Spirit:

Get to know your work colleagues on a more personal level. By initiating team building and other face-to-face activities, this helps to strengthen interpersonal bonds between employees. It is more difficult to let go of someone, or pass them up for a promotion, when you truly like who they are as a person.

Don’t Abuse the Privilege:

Don’t sabotage your reputation by missing deadlines and delivering sloppy work. This includes communicating to other when you’ll be out of the office due to appointments and other obligations. Remember not to take advantage of your telecommuting status by abusing the trust that your employer has placed in you. Be on task when you’re supposed to be on task, and not pretending to work.

What tips do you have for working remotely?

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