The Concerns for the Employee
Some of the concerns that telecommuting employees have are as follows:
Family guidelines— This one is critical. Working at home has the benefit of providing more family time. For example, I take lunches regularly with my wife and kids.
However, I am also "available" during the day to deal with household emergencies. Incidents ranging from a family dispute to clogged-up plumbing no longer wait until I get home from my traditional office.
My family has had to set up rules for when I can be interrupted "safely." My wife and children need to be reminded of the rules as often as is necessary to create a cohesive work environment.
- Self-discipline— Along with increased freedom comes an increased need for self-discipline. Telecommuting often creates a more discretionary schedule—one where you can start earlier, take longer lunches, or get work done late at night. However, the telecommuter must be careful to put an emphasis on work first, and then reward.If you want to take off early on Friday, simply work later Thursday and start earlier Friday. Don't put the work off until the following Monday. Doing so can lead to incomplete projects and derail the work-at-home arrangement.
- Need for recognition— Some telecommuters have told me they feel their lack of presence might lead to a lack of recognition—an "out of sight, out of mind" dilemma.If this is a concern, simply create a correspondence that you issue weekly to the people you work with that covers a summary of completed work and a summary of upcoming work. Don't do this in some overt grab for glory, but as an information piece. It can ensure that your contribution is recognized. Beware: On the flip side, if you are not producing, this summary report exposes that, too.