Telecommuting: The do’s and don’ts of virtual work — Jessica’s Career Tip of the Week

In a world where working from home is now considered the norm, this can leave upcoming first-time employees, maybe even yourself, very lost as to how to go about their daily work lives. Since starting college, most students spend their entire four years with the visualization of driving to work, walking through the entrance and saying hello to just about everyone until they make it to their desk. That has all changed for most.

Now driving to work has become walking to your computer. Walking through the entrance has become typing in your password. And saying hello has become, in some cases, from the opposite sides of the world.

As with being physically in-person in the near past, it is now required to know the do’s and don’ts of telecommuting. These are simple tips to take with you when just starting to work virtually and can be beneficial to those who have not worked a day to those who have been in an industry for more than 20 years.

Do make sure to keep a consistent and set workspace while working from home. This is a base for all things you do even at the workplace but especially so while at home. Keeping the same location will subconsciously keep your brain in check to know that in this area you must be doing work. Without this put in place, the rest of the steps immediately become harder to maintain as there is no habit to keep you going.

Don’t do personal tasks while working on the job. This may seem tempting for those who like to do things with their hands or know that they have a long chore list for things they want to do around the house. The best way to combat this is to think, “Would I be able to do these tasks if I was physically in the workplace?” In most cases, this would be very unlikely. The only exemption from this would be if it is something you can do at your desk, and with minimal time and effort where your job is still your focus.

Do eliminate distractions, especially your phone. This follows very similarly to personal tasks, where your phone would be a big issue if you were on it constantly at work. In best case situations, it would almost be best if you could leave your personal phone out of your workspace to have the least number of distractions going on.

Don’t under-communicate with your coworkers and your superiors. It may seem easy to miss emails and messages from those working with you, but make sure to always stay on top of your communication pipelines. You would never want to miss out on any big updates to your projects or deadlines that have been moved due to circumstances. If anything, try to schedule a time with the people you work with and have a video call to make sure you’re always up to date.

Do dress to impress no matter what. It may seem easy to roll out of bed in pajamas and believe me, we have all been there. However, when it comes to working, you will always feel better and more prepared to get things done when you dress as if you were actually heading into work that day. Who knows, there may even be a surprise meeting that you did not know about and requires your camera to be on. You never want to scramble something together to look presentable.

Lastly, don’t ever forget to take a break. We all know people who tend to be workaholics, and being that way is a great trait at times. However, when on a computer all day, taking a five-minute break is a must. Staying in the same position for that long and staring at a screen is never good for your body. Long stretches of this can have major repercussions but can also cause you to do some of the other “don’ts.”

Working from home can provide some real benefits for both the employer and the employee. We must, however, set guidelines and take responsibility for the work we do while at home. To do well, one must continue to work as if they had never left the office. With these tips, it is all one step closer to being an effective employee.

Reference: Remote worker tools

**This blog was written by Peer Career Coach, Ty Elias