ASC client, Commuter Connections, sponsors Car Free Day each year on September 22 in the metropolitan Washington region to encourage drive-alone commuters to try another way, here’s a take on telecommuting:
In the world of commuter benefits programs, telecommuting is a potential rock star for improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion, decreasing commute-related employee stress, and improving work/life balance. It sounds like a sure winner, but for employees and employers alike, the challenges of teleworking often make it at best a hard sell, and often a non-starter.
ASC helps transportation agencies promote teleworking—and its cousin, telecommuting—as part of emissions reduction initiatives, but it’s only in the last couple years that we walked the walk and implemented teleworking for our own employees. Below are a few tips for fellow teleworkers on how to make working remotely a win-win for you and your employer.
Here’s what I’ve learned in two years of teleworking:
1 – Walk away from your computer! With no coffee pot to gather round, I often find myself at my desk for hours at a time with no break. I’ve learned to force a stop—it makes me happier, and more productive. Get a drink, let the dog out, and take a real lunch break.
2 – Call your office, even if it’s just to say hi. I can guarantee you they haven’t forgotten about you but hearing their voices and finding out what is going on, work-wise or personally, goes a long way in bridging you from the island to the main land.
3 – Get dressed. Don’t wear your pajamas to “work.” While I don’t wear my dress clothes and high heels, I do put on something nice, including make-up, and I do my hair. I feel professional and ready to start the day, even if I’m walking to my table or desk to log on.
4 – Appreciate your company’s victories from afar and come to terms with not being there to participate. It is not a slight, even if it’s your project they are celebrating. Working from home is a luxury and missing out on the action is the trade-off. Send your co-workers off with a happy email.
5 – Keep your “work” category out of your “life” category. You can become stressed quickly with access to emails and company servers at your fingertips. So proceed with caution, remain cognizant of your own schedule and remember to enjoy your life outside the house.
With smartphones, laptops, and VPNs, an office can be anywhere. Mine is in my home. Why? Because I work for a company that learned the lessons from the commuter benefits programs it promotes year after year, appreciates its team, and looks ahead to what’s next, and says, “I’ve got this!”