Tips and Tricks for Telecommuting Success

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Six years ago I transitioned from working in a busy and bustling downtown office to being a full-time remote worker. I loved working in the office with my colleagues, but telecommuting provided me the opportunity to live in a different location, get a dog, and remove daily travel friction. I love telecommuting, but it was not an easy transition! I struggled with managing my schedule, creating boundaries between work/home life, and taking care of myself. During this transition, I learned a number of lessons that have helped make telecommuting be a positive shift for my career, personal life, and health.  I want to share some of the best advice and tips I have learned along the way to help you be successful with telecommuting.


Create a New Routine

If you used to work in the office, you likely had a routine for how to start and end every workday. Transitioning to being home all day removes this clear “start” and “stop” of your day and can be very jarring!
It was very helpful for me to create an "end of workday" routine. For me this is usually taking the dog for a walk or making dinner because I am unable to work/multi-task during either of those. Also, leaving my computer in my "workspace" and not letting it sneak into my "living space" has helped with creating those boundaries. It is tough and takes practice, but creating new "bookend routines" helps!

Set a Workspace

I cannot stress the importance of this enough! No matter what your home layout is, setting some type of dedicated workspace if possible is incredibly helpful for creating and maintaining work boundaries. If you are working from a corner of your kitchen or living room, try to clear that space of distractions and make it your ‘zone’, at least during the workday. In the past, I have used a plastic collapsible table as a desk and picked an empty corner of a room to claim as my “office.” Anything you can do to train your brain that "this is where we go to work" will help with transitions and set your mindset for work.

Add Time for Social Engagements

Wherever you fall on the Introvert/Extrovert spectrum, social engagements are important to maintain balance and mental health. Schedule extra video chats with your colleagues, engage in your team’s group chat (set one up if you don’t have one yet!)

Mindful Selfcare

The weirdest thing that happened when I started working 10 feet from my kitchen was that I forgot to eat! In the office, my colleagues always provided the lunch or afternoon coffee reminder; at home it was easy to start working in the morning and then realize it was 3pm and I had not refilled my water or made lunch. Without external distractions it can also be easy for some of us to hyperfocus and forget to care for ourselves. Try and schedule times or milestones for your day like, getting up and moving around every 60 minutes, and eating lunch by a specific time.

Ask for What You Need

Team meeting accommodations, communication channels, additional 1:1s —ask for them! Many of us are going through a significant life and schedule transition at the same time, it’s normal to have rough days, confusion, or feel like something isn’t quite working. Reach out to your friends who have telecommuted for a long time and ask for advice. If you have experience with working remotely, connect with your newly-remote colleagues and check-in with them. Working from home may seem easy for others, but feel difficult for you, it’s good to communicate where you need help or feedback! Now, more than ever is a time to practice empathy and kindness with ourselves and our colleagues as we go on this learning curve together.

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