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When Your Employer Asks You to Work from Home! Are You Prepared?

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Make Working from Home an Asset for You & Your Employer

You have dreamt of this and now it is happening.  Maybe not for the best reasons, but you may be asked to work from home in the near future.   Are you prepared?  Once it happens and your company realizes that it is business as usual without the presence of all employees, it might be a good idea to make sure you exceed your bosses’ expectations. 

While the benefits to employees of working from home are numerous, it is important that certain guidelines are followed to ensure that the experience is a “win-win” for employee and employer alike.  For the employee, the following practices will better ensure that work time from home is both productive and, in the employer’s eyes, acceptable and beneficial to the company.

10 Must-Do’s When Working from Home

  1. Create strict, uninterrupted times for your work. Make sure that other household members understand and respect the work boundaries you have set.  This extends to other parties who might be inclined to call or visit with “personal time” communications – they must honor your work boundaries as well.  And, don’t answer the doorbell.
  2. Ensure care for your children. Pre-arrange to have them cared for by family or friends, nannies, or taken to day care.  If you and a friend are also asked to work from home, maybe they take ½ day, you take the other ½ and both of you work while the children are asleep to make up other lost work time.
  3. Pre-arrange with your employer to have corporate electronic access through the company’s firewall. For most of us, working from home means you will be transacting company business on a computer.  While corporate access through firewalls will unlikely be a concern with corporate-issued laptops, the same may not be true if you are using your personal computer to transact company business.
  4. Create an office workspace dedicated to your employment. This “office sanctuary” may have the added benefit of being an office-in-the-home tax deduction as well.
  5. Ensure you have the necessary work tools prior to starting your day. In addition to a quiet office area, assess the “must haves” to conduct your work. 

These might include:

  • computer/laptop
  • printer/typing paper
  • work phone/fully charged cellphone
  • reliable Internet connection
  • work station or desk
  1. Beware using your work-related computer for personal activities. Your employer will likely be able to track your personal transactions, and will take a dim view when your company time is used for such purposes.
  2. Stay “plugged in” to your employer. The adage “out of sight, out of mind” is sometimes applicable to employees working remotely – to their detriment.  You may not be privy to certain communications that you would otherwise be aware of if you worked in a corporate office environment.  Be sure you communicate directly and often with management and key associates via conference calls and video chats, etc. both to “stay in the loop” and to ensure your value is well recognized for that next annual evaluation or promotional consideration.
  3. Dress appropriately when working from home. You are more likely to be in a “working mood” when showered and dressed, than you are if working in your pajamas.
  4. Offer to “make up” time used for emergency personal purposes. Offering an employer an additional hour of work here and there to compensate for picking up a sick child from school, will be appreciated by your employer and make them feel you are a trusted work at home employee.
  5. Consider “giving back” to employers with some complimentary employer time. For most of us, working from home translates to a considerable reduction in commuting time to one’s employer.  Consider offering your employer an extra 30-60 minutes of work time – it will reflect favorably on you as a proactive employee, and should better ensure that your employer will appreciate, and continue, your working from home arrangement.

The prospect of working from home is cherished by many and can be an asset to employee and employer alike.  Follow the guidelines above to ensure the experience is a “win-win” for all concerned.

Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Heidi Allison currently serves as a board member for Workplace Fairness, lending her expertise in communications, public relations and media relations. One of her passions is assisting job seekers with ground-breaking advice and discussions about career advancement.


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