work from home

Work from home pitfalls and how to stay relevant even wearing your pajamas

If you work from home, you may have many advantages but also some drawbacks. Even if you are the best at your job, lack of opportunity to interact with managers and colleagues might take away your ability to be considered for promotions or interesting assignments. How do you stay relevant when your boss doesn’t see you every day?

work from home

Do you have a job that allows you to work from home?  Are you working at a remote location away from your company’s headquarters?  Or, is your immediate supervisor located in a different city?

It may be great to work from home, avoid the commute, blend job duties with household chores (put in a load of laundry before joining that conference call) or be away from the grind of a frenzied headquarter site.

Unfortunately, there are some significant downsides to being a remote worker that researchers say can impact morale which then hurts your performance and the kind of assignments your boss provides.  If these are not handled right, it can impact your advancement and overall career growth.

There are some key steps for you to take to make sure that your working remotely is a big success for your current role and your overall career success.

work from home

  1.  Communicate more often than expected. Of course you are attending team calls each weak but do you speak up on each call?  Do you offer a real update or is it your tendency to simply say, “everything is going fine, nothing new here.”  That maybe a quick way to get through the call but you’ll want to be more specific. Beyond those expected calls, you will need to find a way to update your supervisor with a weekly summary email and establish a regular monthly (at least) 1 to 1 video call to check in and ask for feedback.   Emphasis on “video”–its your best option to an in person meeting.
  2. Leverage each conference call to showcase your best.  Your employer may use Skype for Business, ZoomBlueJeans, JoinMe, or WebEx.  Each of the links in that sentence is pointing to the help sites for these applications. If you are in doubt about how to share screens, turn on or off your camera or mute yourself–read the guides and understand those features! Quick!  And, set up your office background so that when you are on camera your environment looks and is all about business. A pile of laundry in the background, cluttered piles of paper, or a TV playing in the background is a distraction from you, your skills set and your message.  Don’t detract from your performance by making any of the 11 mistakes for handling video conference calls!

You might be interested: 7 Steps to master family and career balance

3. Make sure your executive presence comes through on calls. Research has found that executive presence is about 3 key ingredients: Gravitas, Communication, and Appearance. This must be part of your personal brand is a 24/7 endeavor. It is easy to get caught up in your work routine and accept a call when you probably should not.  Many of us are forced to take calls when you are rushing to the airport or picking up kids from school or in the middle of the night for a global team call. Don’t do any of these if you truly cannot manage the impression you will create for your boss. Your dedication to the job can quickly get sidelined if that call makes it seem you lack focus, judgement, or commitment.


This article was first posted on #3LVCareerHacks to build your creative muscle and engage in your workplace drive for innovation.

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lower your stress

4 Reasons why working from home is better for business

TrafficFor straight nine years, I used to commute at least one hour each way by car or by train to work. Now that I work as a consultant, I’m grateful for being alive after driving all those 40,000 miles a year under any road and/or personal circumstances. Not only snow or rain can become dangerous conditions during a daily commute but sleepiness, being “under the weather,” extreme personal stress and traffic complications can turn any commuter into a really miserable person.

Being at the office is a concept of the past, not only for Millennials –the generation that is changing for good the way “working relations work”- but also, for businesses as well as employees if they can negotiate certain aspects of the working relationship.

Today, many companies can decrease not only overhead expenses but also benefit from increased productivity, creativity and lower turnaround rates as long as they can intelligently offer their employees the option to work from home.

  1. Increased productivity: You will need the discipline to set up a regular working schedule, and show that no matter what, you are “connected.” Working from home means you might have to work while you are sick, on weekends or Holidays, long night hours or take fewer vacation times. Businesses that need constant feed of productive work –writers, social media managers, PR, long distance instructors and trainers, customer service, sales, fundraisers, telemarketers and the like– can highly benefit from these killer schedules or time zone differences.
  2. More room for creativity: Graphic designers, architects, journalists and other writers, PMs, translators, transcriptionists, and techies and app developers can greatly benefit from less distractions such as office meetings, the cubicle scene, phones ringing and the office gossip. Some of these jobs require that you “get in the zone” to be productive.
  3. Less interpersonal conflict: Distance can make a great buffer for management/employee conflict. A person’s short-comings can become Attractive twenties hispanic brunette woman on laptopannoying in the office where the contact is daily, while they can be an anecdote when there is a virtual relationship.
  4. A happy employee is a loyal employee: There are perks to working from home, of course, the 15-second commute and the flexible schedule being just a couple of them. Once the “working from home curve” is over –setting up a schedule that works for everybody, meetings, networking, travel or any other routine that needs set up–, it usually entices people to stay around and not jump from job to job.

Although it is true that not all occupations are suitable for telecommute, finding those tasks that are repetitive, need no interaction with someone else or you can ace on your own without supervision might be a way to re-establish a good weekly flow and allow you to negotiate one or two days a week to work from home. Think it through, make a plan and offer a “transitional period” to your boss. Also, be ready to compromise and prove yourself. Good luck!