According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 50% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework, and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks with some frequency. This is a more than 100% increase since 2005, and represents a major shift in workplace dynamics.
Every industry is different, but in the world of health care public relations, our regular work day is constantly changing and allowing for greater flexibility. As someone who has been working remotely full-time for the last five years, I’ve identified several tips for ensuring a successful work-from-home experience.
- Be prepared–and then prepare some more. When you work remotely – whether full-time or one day a week – you need to ensure that all calls and meetings, both internal and external, run smoothly and successfully. This requires some extra preparation on your part. From making sure that you and your colleagues have all the necessary materials that will be discussed to ensuring the technology you are using works correctly (Ahem… make sure your phone charger is always handy), it is your responsibility to make sure the experience is as seamless as possible.
- Make sure you have the proper equipment. Working from home should be an extension of your regular workday, just without the commute or the water cooler chatter. So it is vital to that you have all the proper equipment, from computer to phone to software. You must be able to access all documents just as you would if you were in the office, so that it’s always “business as usual” regardless of your physical location. The ability to quickly and easily share screens with my colleagues has been extremely helpful to me, as I have navigated the work-from-home landscape.
- Don’t underestimate the power of the telephone. Picking up the phone and talking to your colleagues is a huge part of successfully working remotely. While so much of what we do can be communicated via email, there is inherent value to actually talking with your colleagues, building relationships, and clearing up any miscommunication that may occur via email.
- Minimize distractions. Make sure you have a thoughtfully designated space for your work area. Whether it be an entire office in your house, a desk in a spare bedroom, or a back corner table at a local coffee shop, it’s important to designate the best space for work to ensure productivity. You know your work style best, so make sure you choose a spot that’s compatible with your needs, and with whatever’s on your plate for that day. For example, if you know you are giving an important presentation over the phone, the local coffee shop may not be the best location, as the background may be distracting and can seem unprofessional.
Do you have telework benefits at your company? What are your tips for success?
Also, consider taking this quiz to see if working remotely is a good fit for you.