Remote workers struggle with a burden that many other workers don’t.  We have to prove our productiveness, even when we are giving 110%.  Where our in office counterparts may do the exact same amount of work, they spend less time proving their worthiness to their managers than we do.  Since bosses are able to walk by the desk of an employee in the office and see that they are working, or at least appear to be working, they don’t feel the need to question them often.  Those of us working at home can’t just say we are hard at work; and other than setting up a 24/7 webcam stream, we have to prove it by showing results, data, or some sort of documentation.  We can reduce the strain of this burden by following some simple tips.  These tips will ease your manager’s fears, and will make you more productive.

  • Be Available for Communication – Have your phone on, be signed on to your preferred IM client, and have your email open.  Be ready to communicate at any time.  This will make you seem like you aren’t far away to your boss.  If you want to work from home you need a good minutes/texting plan from your wireless carrier.
  • Be Responsive – Don’t wait hours or days to respond to emails.  Check it frequently and respond immediately.  When your manager asks for you to work on something, make sure you reply right away to let them know you got the message and understand what they want you to do.  Also include an estimated delivery time on the final product.  This shows you are on the ball and will keep them from wondering if you are really working.
  • Follow Through on your Deadlines – Don’t be late on your assignments.  If you don’t complete projects on time, the boss is going to immediately assume it is because you aren’t focusing while at home.  They will picture you in front of the TV watching reruns even if you have been working the whole time.  If you need more time on a project, send an email far before the deadline asking for an extension because you want to make sure it is done to the best of your ability.
  • Don’t go Overboard with Updates – It’s okay to let your manager know if you have made a major breakthrough on a project.  Certainly follow through with any requested status updates they ask for.  But don’t send one to them every hour just because you are working from home.  The overabundance of messages will only annoy them and may even make them suspicious.
  • You’re Trusted – Don’t stress!  If you were allowed to work remotely you obviously were trusted enough by management to do so.  It takes an individual of strong will and persistence to keep themselves engaged, manage their own time, and make tough decisions without any assistance.  You don’t have to pick up extra work you wouldn’t normally do, especially if it’s not your specialty.
  • Sync Up – Be sure to have meetings with your managers and co-workers every 2 weeks to 1 month to touch base.  This will ensure that both you are them are on the same page.  This is the perfect time to iron out any issues you have with job duties, communication problems, or project confusion.