Some of the most exciting or high-profile parts of people’s jobs simply can’t be done from home. The biggest promotions and laurels usually go to the lawyer who actually argues at the trial, the salesperson who meets with a client to sign the deal, or the manager who announces at the company meeting that your department met its goals. Never mind that you were toiling away on the background work. When you choose to work at home—particularly on a full-time basis—you may have to take a step back professionally and occasionally feel forgotten or left out of the limelight.
Think about what you can do to keep your career and professional development on track. Go out of your way to stay in touch with your colleagues; seek out training opportunities; try to anticipate new projects and professional opportunities. If you’re part-time, this should be easier to do. Keep on top of what’s going on at the office and remain as visible as possible.
Only you can decide whether any needed professional sacrifices are worth it. Take a long, hard look at your personal
and professional goals. For many people, the personal benefits of working at home— like spending more time with
children or eliminating a brutal commute—far outweigh any potential career downsides.
Savvy Employers Provide Telework Training
Recognizing the major ways that telework changes how their employees live and work, several companies have established training programs to help with the transition.
Sun Microsystems offers courses on staying connected to colleagues, personal organization, and managing workers from a distance. At Procter & Gamble, entire teams get trained on how group dynamics and communications will change when some team members begin working from home. And Merrill Lynch has gone so far as to set up a telework simulation lab where employees can see what it’s really like to work from home.
Your employer probably isn’t this far ahead of the curve, or you wouldn’t be reading this book. Just take this as a sign that the leap to telework isn’t always effortless or seamless. Be patient, expect kinks in the system, and keep reading and learning!
Telework training courses. If you’d like to learn more about how to telework successfully, the federal government offers a free online course entitled “Telework 101 for Employees.” Just go to www.telework. gov and click “Training Courses.” Or, WFC Resources offers a more comprehensive online training course called “Managing Telecommuting Successfully: A Guide for Employees,” which you can purchase at http://telecom.workfamily.com.