As a work and life choice, telecommuting can pose unique challenges to those who adopt the practice. Below are several common telecommuting challenges and the targeted techniques you can use to solve them today.
You feel isolated
Do you sometimes feel lonely as a telecommuter? Feelings of loneliness and isolation are a frequent issue for those who work from home and don’t experience the regular camaraderie of in-office coworkers. If you’re feeling like the walls of your home office are closing in on you – and your creativity is stagnating as a result – try working remotely from a different location for a change of pace. Local coffee shops are a favorite for many teleworkers, but coworking spaces, public libraries and even a museum can open your mind as well as your professional network. Also be certain to use virtual collaboration tools frequently – video conferencing technology is a remarkable way to bridge telecommuters and cloud workers with their in-office counterparts as well as clients, vendors, contractors and other professional relationships that must be nurtured in order to do great work.
Your technology is outdated
Whether you freelance, contract or work full-time, your technology is your lifeline to your employer. And if it’s not robust, neither is your connection to your work or your productivity. You don’t need the latest MacBook to invest wisely in technology, but make sure you upgrade to the newest OS and platform to ensure that your files will be compatible with your clients’ and you aren’t vulnerable to virus attacks, malware and other harmful threats frequently lurking free Wi-Fi. Also, stay adaptable in your tech choices and don’t limit yourself to a single platform or device.
Your work-life balance is out of balance
Are you working longer hours now that you’re working from home? Perhaps you started out with good intentions to work out during that extra hour in the morning, but you now find it easier to grab a cup of coffee and slide in front of the computer and dive right into email instead. And you’re right – it is easier. It’s known as “the glorification of busy” and it can keep us from the most important goals in life. Sometimes these goals have nothing to do with our professional work, but sometimes they do. Brian Tracy writes of the Golden Hour – a time typically very early in the morning when the world around you is still quiet and you can focus without distraction. Telecommuters have a distinct advantage and direct line to the Golden Hour because they remove the hassle of the daily commute. Spend your first hour of the day focused on your most important priorities – visualize your goals, decide your priorities for the day, the week and map out your course of action. If you can unite this behavior with thoughtful meditation or a meditative exercise like yoga or running, even better.
Your home office is more home than office
Does your home office also have piles of laundry, stacks of magazines, a cat bed and your latest grocery list alongside your work for the day? Boundaries are your best friend to defeat this challenge. Take your work space seriously and remove all offenders without mercy. As much as possible, treat your home office as you would a traditional office and, as you free up space, fill it with new tools to improve your environment. Sleek file storage boxes, an attractive desk set or new wireless printer, or even a new plant. In order to create an inviting and productive home office, removing distraction and disorder is key.
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