Working from Home Full Time? 5 Tips to Stay Connected and Sane

The workplace is fluid and employees have more flexibility than ever. When your spouse/partner accepts a corporate relocation, quitting your position is not always necessary. Telecommute options are on the rise, meaning your current employer might allow you to work from home full time.

Approach your employer with your proposal to telecommute from your new location using our 14 tips. Once your employer grants your request, here are 5 tips for making the most of your work from home experience.

1. Intentionally connect with your team members.

“When I switched to working from home full time in 2014, I had concerns in the beginning,” says Cynthia Bucy, an IMPACT Group Career and Transition Coach based in Texas. “I am a social person and I didn’t know if I would get the daily interaction I need.” Cynthia found that scheduling a few coaching calls each day helps. And regular interaction with her team members maintains connections.

“Whenever possible, I make a phone call instead of sending an email. Hearing voices helps build a sense of who your colleagues are.” From light conversation – like weekend plans and upcoming vacations – to project check-ins, intentional and frequent communication will ensure you maintain solid relationships with your team.

2. Stay on your boss’ radar.

In the beginning, you might find it beneficial to schedule regular meetings with your boss until you both feel comfortable with your new working arrangement. This is especially needed if you accept a new role and have not met your manager. “I called my manager daily at first to ensure I was staying on track and doing things correctly. Now, we touch base once a month,” says Cynthia. 

“My manager ensures her open door policy applies to all of her remote employees. We have built trust with one another as I’ve gotten to know her work style and she has gotten to know mine.” Ask your boss how often he/she wants you to check in. Maybe the beginning of the week is best, or perhaps the beginning of each day depending on the nature of your work. Find a balance that works for both of you.

3. Be present at the office even though you aren’t physically present.

The first two tips will help you do this, but there is another area to keep in mind: meetings. “When you know a meeting is coming up, prepare questions ahead of time. It helps you to jump into the conversation more easily,” Cynthia comments. “It also ensures you share your ideas.” If you can’t tell who is speaking during the meetings, don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues to identify themselves so you can start to recognize their voices.

Consider volunteering for special committees and throwing your name in the hat for new initiatives. You’ll get a chance to work cross-functionally with coworkers you don’t interact with otherwise. In addition, it keeps you top of mind and allows you to contribute your strengths in different ways.  

4. Set up a productive home office.

“It takes discipline to stay on task and avoid the distractions in your home,” advises Cynthia. The right work space can do wonders for minimizing this. “Ensure you have the proper equipment and a fast internet connection so you can work without interruption. I set up a traditional workspace with a desk so I’m not sitting at my kitchen table each day.” Don’t clutter your desk with mail that needs sorted, school slips that need signed, and bills that need paid. Keep personal items in a folder or drawer so you can tuck them away when it’s time to work.

If others are home with you, choose a space with a door so you can close it during work hours.  This reminds them and you that you’re focused on work. Cynthia advises to establish clear goals for yourself at the start of each day. This will help you remain accountable to your work.  

5. Get up and move.

“Initially, I felt like a prisoner in my own home!” Cynthia says with a laugh. “I started consciously making time to go outside during the day to alleviate this.” Maybe you start the day with a walk around your neighborhood. Or maybe you schedule outings and errands in the afternoon. Build in reasons to step outside daily to maintain balance. Remember the importance of stretching your legs and giving your eyes a break from the computer screen.

“Here’s a great tip someone shared with me: go outside for a few moments in the morning and enter your workspace. Once you finish for the day, go back outside for a few moments and enter your home. This will help to reset your focus at the appropriate times.”

There are many ways to make telecommuting work for you and your new situation. Keeping a job you love, maintaining normalcy, and retaining your income are all great benefits as you move your life and your family.