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Telecommuters, kick your butt in gear

Woman talking on phone headset

If you want to be successful as a telecommuter, you have to be self-motivated.

After all, there’s no manager pacing around your cubicle, waiting for results or news.

(And thank heaven for that!)

But you still have to live up to expectations, meet project or team objectives, and deliver solid work on deadline.

So, that the morning kick in the pants isn’t going to come from anybody but you.

You have your home office, your computer and headset, and your connectivity tools like conferencing calling and web conferencing.

Those all make telecommuting happen but whether you achieve as a teleworker is built on your ability to drive yourself. Research has shown the most successful virtual workers are self-reliant and self-motivated.

Last week, we wrote about an employability study that asked team managers to rank the key attributes of individuals suited for telecommuting. Their top 4 traits were trustworthiness, reliability, ability to work independently and time-management ability.

Andrew J. DuBrin, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, told that telecommuters face special challenges.

“Some people thrive in a home-office environment, while others falter,” he said. “Most people have to work at creating the right environment and structure.

Without a good deal of discipline, he said, it’s easy to underperform.

Telecommuters must deal with different distractions, like the baby crying or the doorbell ringing. They face a heightened need for clear communication and they often may fall under a microscope their in-office teammates may not experiences.

But look at it this way: the boss has trusted you to stay at home. He recognizes your special ability to work independently and to produce results.

It’s important to remember the benefits both you, the telecommuter, and your company can realize with a successful telecommuting program.

The flexibility and freedom are a part of my motivation to get the work done. On a more tactical, day-to-day level, we can motivate ourselves with:

✓ A plan. That to-do list can be crucial in mapping out your day or work and, heck, does it ever feel good to tick items off that list.

✓ Turn off the distractions. Is your friend texting you all day? Your personal email pinging you? Turn those notifications off and focus on your work tasks.

✓ Schedule breaks. Reward yourself with a coffee break or a few minutes of down time (check Facebook or turn on the TV?) when you get a big chunk of that list taken care of.

✓ Get outside. Part of a telecommuter’s doldrums can be found in the lack of social atmosphere that comes with working alone and out of a home office. Schedule lunch meetings with co-workers or other like-minded professionals to give your brain a creative jolt.

✓ Take pride in your work. When you feel good about what you’re doing, self-motivation is easy.

Your turn

How do you push yourself when there’s no one else around to do it?

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