Telecommuting tips

By Amy Catlin
Info Guru,

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Woman working on laptop at home
Working from home can combine the best of both worlds
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Working from home, for me, has been the best possible situation but there have been some bumps along the way. There have also been days when I have been able to juggle things with my work at home business I just wouldn't have been able to do in my prior 9-5 life. I would like to share with you some of the highs and lows of the telecommuting life with you, as well as a few telecommuting tips I've learned along the way.

Don't forget that telecommuting is still work

If you are just starting out in your telecommuting career, one thing you will soon learn is it is still very much work. You will still need to rely on a schedule to complete all of your tasks on time and continue receiving that bottom line - a paycheck.

My normal work week consists of rising early, before the kids or even the paperboy are up. I usually try to give myself at least an hour before my morning gets into full swing to check email and plan my daily schedule. Often, evening will find me at my desk finishing an article or a report that has a close deadline when everyone else is enjoying the TV comedies or even after all the other lights in the house have gone down. Make sure you maintain a balance

Sometimes, it's hard to shake that feeling of always being at work. You know, "oh I will just check my email or type up this report, or learn this new software program really quickly." This can lead to spending more time than you realize on work and less time than you planned with your family.

Remember the benefits

I don't have group insurance and I don't get paid vacations. The reason I became a telecommuter where the other benefits, like being able to take a few hours off to attend the Valentine's Day party at your child's school. How about that chance to take them to the water park on the first day of the summer that the mercury hits the 100-degree mark? These are the moments that you were probably seeking when you decided to embark on a telecommuting career.

Let people know when you are working

In the beginning, when you first start telecommuting you might run into the problem of people not realizing that although you don't leave your house, you are still "at work"when you are home. This can be anyone from the telemarketer to the neighbor kids looking for your children. Dinging doorbells and ringing phones are not only annoying but they also dilute your professional environment. Try to get the word out right away that although your work location has changed, you are still very much at work during your scheduled hours.

A few great telecommuting tips
  • Don't get too caught up in your work to take advantage of small ways to create priceless memories for your children. A water fight on a hundred degree day or an impromptu cookie baking session may just be a moment your child will remember forever.

  • It's great to take lunch breaks, coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, with no one watching the clock to see when you return to your desk but don't get distracted on your way back to your office by the pile of dishes in the sink, or that next load of laundry waiting to be popped in.
  • During summer vacation, and other days off from school you may still need to have a back up child care situation when you have a looming deadline to attend to. It's a good idea to arrange this in advance so you will not be scrambling for help.

  • Try to get the word out on your preferred work hours to people who may forget that you are working from home. Keep dropping small hints if you need to keep your workspace quiet..

  • Have a set time each day that you log off of work. Unless you need to finish a special project or are expecting an important email most things will keep until the next day…when you are on paid time.

      I hope these telecommuting tips will be helpful to you as you embark on your work at home career.

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