Telecommuters face a lot of myths and misconception.
Work — and life — becomes difficult when our managers and in-office teammates buy into those misconceptions.
Last spring, WorldatWork, a nonprofit human resources association, debunked some of the top myths the remote workforce faces.
One of them strikes a nerve in this telecommuter: We are slackers.
Despite all the research and statistics that teleworkers produce more and better quality work than their in-office peers, we are still perceived as a lazy bunch.
We watch TV instead of working.
We go shopping instead of working.
We sleep instead of working.
We’re disengaged and we don’t care about turning in a full day or hitting deadlines.
We know nothing could be further from the truth, right?
Telecommuting requires better-than-average organizational and communication skills, and while we aren’t in contact with the boss or visible to our peers, the research shows we get the information we need to get the job done.
But not everyone reads the statistics.
Not everyone accepts the research as valid.
And we’re left with a battle of debunking myth.
Actions speak louder than research
The truth is, we have to go the extra mile when our managers or colleagues don’t buy into telecommuting as a viable subsection of the workforce.
We have to keep the lines of communication open, responding to emails and instant-message pings as quickly as we can.
And we have to go above and beyond during conference calls to ensure we’re viewed as an active participant in the team’s goals and outcomes.
Here are some tips to making yourself heard during your team’s conference calls:
If your manager prepares an agenda for a conference call, make sure you know it inside and out. You can be prepared to speak and give further insight into the discussion.
If your manager goes around the “room” and asks for updates from everyone, make sure you introduce yourself with your name and duties. It’s important for your peers to know you’re there and to introduce yourself to anyone who may be new to the team. Add something nice about yourself to give it that human touch.
Show you’re interested in the discussion by asking thoughtful questions of the presenter, your manager or your peers. But don’t ask questions just to be heard. Make sure you’re adding value to the conference call.
Lead a conference call
If you’ve learned a new skill or technology that can help your teammates do their work more efficiently and effectively, offer your manager a break at leading a conference call. Take charge and conduct a learning session.
Keeping yourself involved in the team’s operations is vital to building the trust that’s needed for a telecommuting program to work successfully.
It also may be a good idea to drop into the office occasionally — if that’s geographically possible — to remind everyone what you like.
How do you keep yourself head in your team’s progress?