Tips to help you make telecommuting a reality

December 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
If you're a busy working mom who needs more time at home, you might try telecommuting. Karen Leland, co-author of "Time Management in an Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day," has some tips to help make it happen.

While the rising cost of gas is making it more expensive for commuters to get to work, the shrinking cost of wireless technologies are making it easier to get work done from a desk in the bedroom, rather than a table in the boardroom. One new national poll shows that telecommuting is becoming more commonplace. For example, nearly half (44 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed said their companies' workforce is telecommuting at a rate that is the same or higher than five years ago. Improved retention, moral, increased productivity and better work-life balance are the biggest benefits sighted by workers and companies.

1. If you currently work and think working from the comfort of your home might be for you, first, make a compelling case to convince your boss with the following tips:

Evaluate Your Job. Do you spend a good portion of your day emailing colleagues and customers? Talking on the phone to vendors? Working on the computer? If so, you may be a great candidate for telecommuting.

Present your boss with a plan - in writing. Let your boss know exactly what hours you plan on working from home, what the cost savings will be, what monetary investments (if any) would be required and the benefits to both the company and your boss of your telecommuting.

Promise results. Your boss's biggest concern is likely to be that instead of writing that sales proposal, you will sit around in your pajamas (or underwear) drinking beer all day long. You can help erase that image from his/her mind by agreeing to commit to measurable, weekly or daily work-from-home goals.

Recommend a test run. If after doing all the above, you boss is still skeptical, suggest trying telecommuting out for a few weeks or a month.

2. If you don't work at the present time, but would like to start working at home to make some extra income consider the following:

Make your creativity pay. Are you a crafter, knitter, beader or jewlery maker? If so, check out etsy.com the site that sells handmade items.

Turn your people skills into cash. Want to earn $8-$15 per hour answering customer service calls for brand name companies? One of the biggest industries looking for work at home staff is virtual customer service. Check out Working Solutions and LiveOps.

Score big with science and math. If you have college degree and excel at math and or science, why not tutor and teach online to make some cash. Sites such as Tutor.com operate online classrooms where students can seek one-on-one help.

3. Once your dream of working from home (part time at least) has become a reality, the next challenge is to manage yourself working from home. A few things to keep in mind are:

Create a real home office. A desk stuck in a small corner of tv room, does not make for a great working space. If you are going to work at home, you need a private place that is set up as a home office, even if it's small in scale.

Don't get caught in non-work tasks during the day. If your spouse works outside the office they may be tempted to ask you to pick up the cleaning, meet the plumber or power wash the patio, during the work day - don't. Drawing a boundary about when you work is essential to making working from home successful.

Find a way to stay in the office loop. Out of sight, can mean out of mind. You don't want to lose touch with your boss or co-workers, because they see less of you. Scheduling regular check ins as well as making drop in appointments, will help keep you part of the working team.

About Karen Leland:
Karen Leland is co-author of the new book Time Management In An Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day. As President of Sterling Consulting Group, she leaders workshops and coaches executives and entrepreneurs in time management, work-life balance and productivity. Her clients have included American Express, AT&T, Oracle, Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, Bank of America and a host of other companies. She is the national work-life balance blogger for examiner.com and has been interviewed on this topic by The Today Show, CNN, Good Morning America, Bloomberg, the Oprah show, Ladies Home Journal, Fitness Magazine, Redbook, the New York Times, Newsweek and others. In addition Karen is a freelance writer and has been published in Women's Day, Self, Spirituality and Health, Entrepreneur, The Christian Science Monitor and The San Francisco Chronicle, among others.


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