Every job involves working with other people on some level or another. Even if you work independently, you probably spend some of your time exchanging ideas with colleagues, reviewing work in progress, or checking in with your supervisor or the people you’re supervising.
The more your work depends on day-to-day coordination and collaboration with others, the more challenging it will be for you to work from home. You don’t want your coworkers to feel that you’re slowing down the pace of a project or not pulling your weight if you’re not there in person. And you want to make sure you don’t start to feel isolated and marginalized because you’re not at the office in the middle of all the action.
Instead of trying to eliminate the team portions of your job, think of ways you can integrate them into your telework plans. One of the more obvious methods is to work from home for only part of each week. But if you’re trying to make telework into your daily routine, you may need to get more creative. For example, could some of those informal chats be formalized as regular telephone or videoconference meetings? Could you remain flexible, and come in to the office if you’re given a certain amount of notice, or during deadline crunch times? Even a regular lunch meeting with key members of your team might be a good way of staying connected.
What If You’re the Boss?
Don’t assume telecommuting is only for your underlings. Though you’ll probably lose your corner office, a USA TODAY report found that:
As telecommuting grows in popularity, more executives are turning down the corner office and instead are working from home.
These executives are managing entire departments from home offices. Employers are offering telecommuting as a way to recruit top executives relectant to relocate, and research shows more of these high-ranking professionals want the same work-at-home benefit enjoyed by their employees.
The downside? Telecommuting executives have to learn to manage from afar, and many leadership jobs require the type of regular, faceto-face contact that simply can’t be found via long-distance.
“More bosses getting into the telecommuting biz; Many see it as big perk; firms use it to recruit,” by Stephanie Armour, November 3, 2004.