Re: Telecommuting Advice?

Subject: Re: Telecommuting Advice?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2005 15:00:49 -0700

On Mon, 2005-06-13 at 10:35 -0500, Jones, Donna wrote:
> Next week, I'm starting telecommuting part time (every other week on site) and eventually moving to full-time (on site when needed, maybe a week or so every month). I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing even though it will eliminate a 2+ hour daily commute and will allow me to move closer to family. I almost dread the thought of not being in the middle of things every day (see my previous post about our work environment).
> Anyone have any advice for someone about to start telecommuting and how to deal with the usual stuff--boredom, distractions, lack of "face time" with others? How do I keep from getting so starved for adult conversation that I latch onto strangers at the grocery store or talk my husband's ears off? How do I keep from rearranging the furniture in the house or doing my spring cleaning when I'm supposed to be working? I'd like to know what's worked for other people.

One of the most important things when telecommuting is keeping the lines
of communication open. Make regular phone calls and e-mail as much as
possible. If the company has an IRC channel, use it regularly.

I especially recommend the IRC channel. I've never been a regular IRC
user myself, but for the last five months, one of the first things I do
as I start my computer at home each morning is open the private IRC for
the site that I do much of my journalism for. The effect is chose to
that of a virtual office. Serious work gets done, as well as the type of
gossip you'd expect around an office. It's unexpectedly personal.

As for how you settle into work, I'd suggest setting a routine and
sticking to it most of the time. After a few months, you can make
exceptions, but, until the routine is established, try not to. When you
do break routine, be scrupulous about making up the time; aside from
being the honest thing to do, doing so will help impress upon you that
you are on a schedule.

I find that the wish for adult conversation -- or simply getting out of
the house, period-- is one of the perils of telecommuting, just as
gossip and meetings are are on the perils of going into an office
regularly. An IRC channel helps a bit. Moreover, when working at home, I
make a point of planning errands or activities in the evening once or
twice a week that will get me away from the keyboard for a while. I also
take a break for a walk or a swim instead of a lunch break.

I used to say that whether I preferred working from an office or at home
depended on which I hadn't done recently. However, in the last few
months, I've resolved never to work regularly in an office again unless
I'm absolutely desperate for money. I've grown accustomed to working
from home. Having established my work schedule, I also enjoy the freedom
of knocking off early one day and making up the time the next day if I
feel like it. In fact, I've adapted so well that I wonder in my heart of
hearts if anything except grim necessity could resign so many people to
going daily to the office. When I'm on my morning run, I look at the
people in their cars and those at the bus stops and I feel sorry for
them -- they look so desolate while I enjoy my situation immensely.

Here's hoping that you can reach the same perspective.

Bruce Byfield 604-422-7177

"Inspiration and craft plus time and effort minus fear and doubt
multiplied by purpose equals song."
- Ray Wylie Hubbard


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Telecommuting Advice?: From: Jones, Donna

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