Finding a Job

Managing your work-from-home Employment

According to the Telework Research Network half of the U.S. workforce has jobs that are compatible with at least part-time telecommuting, and nearly eight in 10 employees would like to work from home. But if being out of sight also means being out of mind, working from home can be a career challenge unless you make it benefit both you and your employer.

Here are some useful tips to manage your work from home gig effectively.

Follow company policies to the letter. This is to protect you as much as the company. In the ideal situation company procedures and expectations are clear and well set up for supervisors and employees. If you're interested in working from home and your company doesn't have a formal policy, go to the human resources department with some recommendations for setting up a program. Make it a standard agreement that states the mutual benefits, outlines the responsibilities of you and your supervisor and determines how your performance will be assessed.

Use technology for "face time." Face-to-face meetings not only provide valuable visual cues and camaraderie but they also remind others that you're part of the team. When you're not in the office, find ways using technology to get face time. Whenever possible, choose video chat over emails and Web conferencing over phone calls.

Be proactive. Working from home requires an even stronger ownership of your career. That means proactively communicating with your manager about the results you're achieving and asking for new assignments that fuel career growth. If you live close enough to the office, don't wait to be asked to come in for a team or individual meeting. Instead, occasionally plan days to work on-site in the corporate offices. And reach out to colleagues to schedule brainstorming sessions to support team projects.

Document your accomplishments. This will help keep your boss in the loop and give you a strong record of achievement to draw from during performance review time. By consistently showcasing your productivity through your accomplishments, you help support your case for your telecommuting/work from home arrangement.

Assess how well you concentrate. An upside to working from home is not having anyone looking over your shoulder. That's also a downside for those who are lured by daytime TV, dirty floors, laundry or even a comfy bed. The bottom line: If you're easily distracted, you probably shouldn't work from home.

Test it out. Work from home/Telecommuting doesn't have to be an either/or proposition. In fact, far more employees telecommute just one or two days out of the week. If you think your job would be right for telecommuting, try it one day a week or one day a month.

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