With all the new developments in technology such as mobile apps and enterprise mobility software, working in a traditional office environment is no longer the only option available to employees or even managers for that matter. But remote working can have pitfalls attached that are easily avoided once you know how.
Define your workspace
It is not advisable to blur the lines between your comfortable home and your serious work space. This will make it too easy to also extend your working hours beyond what is reasonable or what is truly expected from you.
Choose an area where the light is sufficient for working and where noise levels are kept to a minimum. This will be greatly helped if you order family and friends to leave you alone (unless it is an emergency) while you are in your designated work space.
Another tip that may provide those working from home with a feeling that it is now time to work is to get dressed for going to your at-home work area as you would when going to the office. This will give you a sense of purpose for the day.
Maintain normal office hours
It is easy to start working odd hours once you do not have to commute to work in order to be on time. Try to wake up at the time you would usually start work at your office and end your working hours as you would normally.
Create a schedule for yourself where you set goals that you need to reach on a specific day. Remember to schedule a lunch break in between as well, even if you have to set a timer for yourself.
It does not qualify as a lunch break when you eat while working on a document or idea on the side. If you do get a brainwave while taking your obligatory lunch break, make a note of it and then only focus on it when you get back to work. Also, when you are ill while working from home, take a sick day as you would normally otherwise you will burn out quicker from working more hours.
Have frequent contact
Just because you get all of your work done while maintaining only email contact does not mean that this is the only form of contact that you need to preserve. Make use of tools such as Skype to always remain connected in real-time your colleagues. Even though you have the ability to communicate without actual face-time, remember that you may miss out on interpersonal cues such as facial expressions and gestures that lose the true meaning and cause miscommunication. It is well-known that many great ideas come from watercooler conversations and showing that you are open to having a dialogue, even if it is merely virtual, can lead to better solutions than you might have come up with on your own.
Neglecting face-to-face contact will have you run the risk of being seen as less a part of the company than you really are. Making more face-to-face contact will give you an opportunity to chat about any new developments that may not have been relayed to you while working at home. Take a day out of every week or every second week to go into the office (if it is not located too far away from you). When you finish a piece of work (especially if it has been done quicker and better than it would have been done it at an office), immediately send it to your superior to remind them of the value of you working from home. Make use of cloud-based solutions so as to make sharing with colleagues at the office easier and to make it easier for them to, in turn, share information with you.
Working from home should not exempt you from partaking in office activities. When training and skills development opportunities are offered, take your office up on the offer as working from home makes it easier for you to schedule in more activities since commuting is now taken off the plate. Office activities such as functions should be attended if possible in order to re-establish a relationship with colleagues that are not working from home. Also, stay in contact with those people who telecommute just like you in order to ensure that you are still part of a community and can share ways in which to work more effectively.