How to Successfully Work from HomeThere are few things as impressive as when you can work from home as a remote employee. You get the benefits of a steady paycheck and the flexibility in working in your home office. But working from home is a privilege that requires additional responsibilities. If done wrong, you could end up getting fired and have a hard time finding a job replacement – unless, of course, you have a killer resume at the ready. You might also unintentionally limit your income and promotions. Let's look at what I've learned working from home, and how you can successfully work from home as a remote employee.
CommunicationCommunication is the undercurrent in working from home successfully. It's kind of like how humans need air to breathe. This idea is true with most jobs but becomes a top priority when working remotely. That's because your primary connection with the company you work for and your co-workers is 100% through the digital space. If you don't get good at communicating over the internet, you will leave a path of confusion and frustration. Excellent communication isn't just about the number of words you write. It more has to do with being clear, concise, and direct. Over the years I've focused on over-communication, which I think is a good thing at its core. But I'm learning to write what I mean in fewer words, to make what I'm trying to communicate easier to digest and understand. Excellent communication comes down to a few core principles:
- Asking the right questions as early as possible
- Making sure you understand each request or task
- Explaining complex problems for anyone to understand, regardless of their background
- Being careful about what assumptions you make
- Taking an active role in whatever you touch
Organization and Work EfficiencyYou could be at the top of your field, but if you can't organize your workday, you could fall flat on your face when working from home. I've worked with well-intentioned individuals who had a hard time getting this right. They were smart and talented but had a hard time organizing their time when working through multiple priorities at home. It becomes about making order out of chaos. The better you become at what you do regularly, the more the company will go to you in solving those problems. Being organized means increased responsibilities and more tasks coming your way (and can anyone say cha-ching). This idea isn't about letting your employer put unrealistic expectations on your time; it's about increasing your work efficiency. In most work at home situations, no one is going to dictate your every move. You have to figure this out on your own. A few questions I like to ask myself in making sure I'm on track:
- Are my priorities for today and this week clear?
- Am I being blocked by anyone, and have I communicated this clearly to the correct people?
- Are the expectations of what I will accomplish with my time realistic?
- In regards to what I am working on: what are the main risks? Have I communicated these risks?