The Five Biggest Mistakes in Telecommuting

FlexPath recently put out a listed of the five biggest mistakes individuals make in telecommuting.  Having been both a telecommuter and employer of telecommuters, I thought it was useful.  Here is FlexPath’s Five Biggest Mistakes in Telecommuting (in bold) with my perspective thrown in afterwards:

1. Neglect to set boundaries for themselves regarding work and personal responsibilities. I still find this quite challenging, even now after years of telecommuting.  Here’s what works for me (sometimes):

  • Have at least one work-dedicated phone line installed;
  • Set up a room or area that is exclusively for work;
  • Set a time when you ‘go home’ after which you don’t answer the phone or continue working (yeah, good luck with that!).

2. Not finding ways to stay physically connected to the workplace and colleagues.  Not only is it important to ‘schmoose’ or ‘press flesh’ with co-workers, bosses, clients, etc. but it’s also important for your own mental health.  Working from home gets lonely.  A big part of the fun of working is being with other people.

3. Think they can work the same way remotely as they did in the office.  As you get used to working remotely you will find some things are much easier and faster while other things are more difficult.  Once you’ve set up your systems the disparity will smooth out.

4. Underestimate the need to communicate frequently with boss re what’s working/not working so can be proactive.  I’ve been an employer of telecommuters and a telecommuter myself.  From both perspectives I find this true.  When I’m hiring someone from a distance, I like to have them check in with me often.  I find I micro manage my telecommunting employees more than those that work with me side by side.

5. They don’t do enough problem solving regarding ‘what if’ scenarios before they begin telecommuting.  ‘What ifs’ can be dramatically different from one type of business to another.  My advice in advance problem solving is to set up an array of telecommunting tools so if something doesn’t work you have backup plans.  With your boss, client or co-workers run tests on tools like Skype, iChat, document sharing software like Airset, and free CRM to keep track of your time and projects.

For the 5 biggest telecommunting mistakes companies make …read more