There are benefits to telecommuting, which can improve your work output, as well as your life. The key is to get set up with the right tools and the right attitude.
Here’s something to get you started:
Powerful connections: One of the first things to consider is your connections. Is your internet connection powerful enough to take the data load that you’d add to your network traffic by working at home? You need reliable internet connections to coordinate with your office, use your VoIP phone, work in the cloud, all else. After all, we’re in a digital work environment where a bulk of your tasks happen or are shared online.
Voice over IP (VoIP): Yes, you will need VoIP (business line) even when you have a home land-line. Digital telephony allows your office phone number to follow you wherever you are, which is a requisite. You need to be available to your clients, partners and co-workers during work hours. Plus, outbound calls to wherever via VoIP are cheaper than when you do it through traditional telephony. So, ensure that you have reliable VoIP and that all’s in place before you move your office to your home. You will need to set up a 24/7/365 VoIP monitoring service, such as VoIP Spear‘s, for your digital communications to ensure that you get quality service and a 99% uptime, and to be able to do something about it when you don’t.
Compatible and updated software: Of course, you will need applications to get work done with, and these need to work with software implemented across your organisation. These should be compatible with what your partners and clients use, as well.
This is normally not a problem. You can get multi-license software for use across the different devices of office employees. There are also “in the cloud“ software that are licensed per user or per processor.
Just make sure to always keep collaboration in mind. This is one of the main issues that pops up between someone at the office and a telecommuting officemate. Ensure that you’re covered before hauling your work desk home.
An account in the cloud: The cloud is a good place to keep your work progress updated and your files organised. It’s not far off that you will find yourself with different versions of a document or two. Designate the cloud as your official storage for the latest versions.
It is also ideal for collaboration work with your team. You can share access to cloud files easily. Of course, all this is dependent on the reliability of your internet connection – so again, make sure this foremost requirement is taken care of.
Discipline to follow work schedule: Staying at home to work can give us the illusion that we have a free schedule. Unlike the office, you are not strapped down on your chair for long periods at a time. In fact, it feels so free that you might forget to spend time in your work chair. Make this mistake and you won’t get a lot of work done.
One of the first tasks that you need to do when you start working at home is to devise a practical work schedule that you can follow. You can expect a lot of distractions. Even taking food breaks can extend to hours if you’re not conscious of the time. Being at home gives us more opportunity to do what gives us pleasure, apart from office work: cooking, spending time with loved ones, or just taking an extended moment with your cup of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with this, you just need to ensure that you can get back to work after your “allowed” distraction.
Work zone: A dedicated work area can make a huge difference in how you stay focused even with the distractions at home. This is a mental signal to you that while you’re within this space, you’re supposed to be doing work.
So, choose a spot in your home where you have a quiet space for your work necessities, such as your computer, phone or headset, and pens. This should not be anywhere that’s dedicated to something else, like your bedroom or kitchen. Choose a spot that will be specifically for work. And, whenever you’re here, make sure to get moving and work!
Matt Larson is a tech blogger for VoIP Spear, a global VoIP monitoring company. He has not worked in an office for more than a decade, and loves the freedom that a disciplined telecommuting life comes with.