Getting Started Telecommuting

The Journey from a traditional office worker to an experienced teleworker can be long and difficult or short and easy, depending on your personal abilities to cope with change and the support you receive from your manager and co-workers. Here is a typical sequence of steps that should be followed to get into the teleworking groove:

Before you start

  • Complete the prerequisites checklist.
  • Notify all your business partners and colleagues with whom you normally work face-to-face that you will be working some or all days from your remote office.

First week

  • Setup your home office with the minimum equipment.
    • Phone
    • Business phone line
    • Headset
    • High-speed connection
    • Ergonomic chair and desk
  • Notify all your team members of your new contact information
    • Instant messaging address(es)
    • Business line phone number
    • Cell phone number
    • Address
  • Establish a weekly one-on-one meeting time with your manager
    • Review progress on your projects
    • Establish objectives for the next week
    • Discuss problems and proposed solutions
    • Learn about other team activities and business issues

First few months

  • Sign-up for and practice using a desktop sharing tool
    • Obtain an account on the desktop sharing service used in your company.
    • If your company does not have an internal service, volunteer to evalutate one of the various external services and setup a test usage with one or two of the best.
    • Practice using the tool you select with two or three of your colleagues.
    • Ask all of your team members to use this tool as often as needed to share information
  • Run a desktop sharing practice sessions with team members
    • A desktop sharing session is a good place to start. Share a document that you are
      writingg and ask everyone comment.
    • Try a whiteboard session where everyone sketches concepts and captures text at the same time.
  • Get all of your team members up on the same Instant Messaging (IM) service
    • Ask everyone to add the online IDs of each other to their buddy lists.
    • Practice using IM with each other until you are all comfortable with this tool
  • Practice using IM with your team until everyone is comfortable

Ongoing

  • Periodically attend on-site meetings
    • Meet new team members in person and reestablish relationships with existing ones.
    • Meet with your manager in person for a longer session about your work effectiveness, and project projects. This is a time to build the relationship with your manager.
  • Send e-mail to keep team members informed of your activities and progress
    • Keep notes short and to the point. Since your primary means of communication with others is written, you want people to actually read what you have to say. Long discourses will be skimmed at the very best and completely ignored at the worst. This is a case where the more you write, the less peopel read.
    • Only send to those who have a need to know or who have explicity asked to be on your distribution list
  • Continue to practice with IM and desktop sharing until you and your team members can use it without struggling. Familiarity with the technology will also help everyone on the team when they need to share information with customers and others outside your immediate team.

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