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Avoid the traps of telecommuting

This is freedom.

You roll out of bed in your jammers, stretch, scratch what needs to be scratched, make some coffee and log on to the network.

You’re working.

There’s no commute. No stop lights or bumper-to-bumper traffic. No lineups at the drive-thru for your morning jolt of java. No noisy chatter from your cubicle mate.


Your home is your office.

Life as a telecommuter isn’t always sunshine and lollipops, though. There are traps waiting for us at every corner with remote work and we have to safeguard ourselves against them.

Isolation. You wanted the peace and quiet, the flexibility and freedom of working out of your home. But you’ve started to feel like you’re missing out. Build a strong relationship with one of your team members to stay up-to-date on office news and to collaborate with. It’s always good to have someone to bounce ideas off.

Lack of communication. You might get caught up in getting your other work done or you might start to think that conference call doesn’t pertain to you. Stay connected to your supervisor and your co-workers with instant messaging, phone calls and emails. Join those conference calls and web conferences. You’re on a team and you have to play the game like everyone else.

Snakebit. That’s a term Canadians use when we haven’t scored a goal in hockey in a while. In telecommuting, we have to set goals – and score them – with our supervisor. The level of trust between manager and remote worker is key to maintaining and promoting the telework program. Keep that up by meeting deadlines and being accountable.

Techno-fail. Augh … my internet is down! What now? Pack up your laptop and hustle your butt off to the nearest Starbucks. Know where the Wi-Fi hotspots are in your neighbourhood so you can get re-connected quickly and easily.

Burnout. This is your biggest pitfall. Telecommuters often forget when to stop working or feel like they have to overachieve to prove the success of the system. Non-stop working can lead to a lack of productivity or creativity, though. You have to take breaks and clear the spaces in your brain to stay fresh and motivated. Set an alarm to remind you to take breaks and make sure you shut your computer off at the end of the day.

Telecommuting has an amazing list of benefits for both the employer and the employee.

As telecommuters, we’re blazing a trail for other people to reap the benefits of working from home and so we have ensure we make it successful with our own employers.

That’s not too much responsibility, is it? Let us know in the comments what risks you’ve encountered as a remote worker. We’d love to hear from you.

Happy Monday!

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