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Is telecommuting the right route for you?

Do you find yourself easily distracted by the commotion around the office?

Are you convinced you’re more productive when you’re sitting at your kitchen table in your PJs?

Can you schedule your day around web conferences and conference calls for standups, meetings and other updates?

Maybe you answered ‘yes’ to all these questions and think you’re ready to set up shop in your sweatpants.

Not so fast.

For all the benefits you see at first blush, you have to know there are some drawbacks.

Like distractions. Just because you’re away from the Nerf guns and general chaos doesn’t mean you’re immune from life’s little bothers. The dog wants a walk, the baby starts to cry, the phone is ringing because your mom doesn’t ‘get’ that you really are working.

When you’re a teleworker, you’re home becomes your office. That can translate into a few sticky wickets.

Some telecommuters start to feel like they:

✔ Never leave the house
✔ Become isolated from their team
✔ Are always on the clock
✔ Forget to stop working

OK, now don’t fret. We have some easy solutions to get around these issues.

Try these helpful tips and ensure you maintain work-life balance in your remote-working role.

1. Get out of the house. Geez, that sounds simple, doesn’t it? Schedule a lunch break into your day and go for a walk. Head to Starbucks and grab a latte. Just do something to gain some human interaction in your work day. You could even try looking for a co-working space in your town or city.

2. Be available for communication with your supervisor and teammates. Make web-conference and conference-call technology your friend. Use the tools to reach out to your colleagues for collaboration and input beyond the usual update meetings. And hey … you know that human interaction thing? Meet them for coffee or go into the office every once in a while if geography allows.

3. Plan your day. I always had a to-do list when I worked at an office. When I headed for home and entrepreneurship, I let that very simple task lag. But now I have a whiteboard next to my desk (OK, OK, converted kitchen table) and I write out a new list every day.

4. Stick to a schedule. This one is tough because you can become burdened by the guilt that you’re taking advantage of your situation and not putting enough work in, no matter how much work you do. Commit to a 6 p.m. quitting time (or whatever, as agreed to by your supervisor) and walk away from the computer for the night. It will be tough at first but you’ll feel freer once you do. It’s especially important for people with families to spend that quality time together.

5. Set boundaries with your loved ones. They have to understand and respect you’re still a working gal/guy. Be firm in letting them know you can’t take personal calls while you’re working, unless it’s an emergency. Commit yourself to sending any calls to voicemail.

6. Make similar rules for your colleagues. Remember No. 4? When you’re done, you’re done. You need your time off to refresh, relax and recharge. Of course, there are special occasions when we all have to put in some extra hours but we need to respect each other’s time or the whole system starts to break down.

There you have it. Just a few simple tips to make your telecommuting life a little bit easier.

The studies prove we’re more productive and happier when we work from home … and we’re helping to reduce our ecological footprint.

If it’s right for you, it could be a win-win situation for you and your company.

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