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Nick Wakeman

What's your action plan for telecommuting?

Today was my first day back in the office after — cue the dramatic music — the Blizzard of 2010. I spent eight days without going anywhere. The only driving I did was to back the car up so I could clear more snow out of the driveway.

But I still worked every day, and I was productive, too. Over the last two years, I’ve worked sporadically from home and I’ve liked the flexibility, even though I've never thought of myself as the telecommuting type. I like being in the office.

After eight days at home, I’ve decided that I want to become a more regular telecommuter, but I’ve learned a few things that I need to do to make that a reality.

        1.  I need a dedicated space at home. For eight days, I was sprawled in the dining room. Not a good long-term solution.
        2.  I need a better system for checking voice mail at the office. We are not on a voice-over-IP system, so I can’t set up the office phone to e-mail me when I get voice mail. A simple solution might be to set up Outlook alerts to remind me to phone in for messages.
        3.  Get a hardwired phone for whatever spot becomes my office. I need a phone I can cradle against my shoulder and neck and a cordless phone is too dainty.
        4.  Set up the wireless printer, something I’ve been meaning to do for a year.
        5.  Explore greater use of Skype for video calls with co-workers. I’ll admit, sometimes my mind wanders on conference calls, but if I’m looking someone in the eye, it’ll be harder to click over to my e-mail or dash off a quick instant message.

So those are my five action items before the next blizzard.

I know a lot of you were either stuck working from home or are already dedicated teleworkers. So what the five things you recommend before the next blizzard hits?

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 16, 2010 at 7:23 PM


Reader Comments

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 Jerry Hollingsworth Northeast

I have been supporting multiple client needs from remote locations for a couple of years. The dedicated office when you are at home, regular work hours (going "home" means turn off the computer and phone!), and rules for the family ("Daddy is at work now - we'll see him at lunch") are all essential. Having said that for those of us that can it is the greatest blessing of technology.

Tue, Feb 23, 2010 Mike Braintree, MA

Most PBX's can be configured, by extension, to call a preset number with a message when a message is left at the extension. For instance, someone leaves a message in my voice mailbox, and withing 30 seconds or so a call is placed to my cell phone where, when I answer, I am told something like "You have one new message". And the call is terminated.

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Tennessee

For you and your family's sake. Stay on your regular schedule. When your work day is done, get up and go "home." It is easy to let telecommuting take over your home life.

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Kathy Scheessele Charlotte, NC

I second Cal's suggestion. A dedicated "home office" area is essential, particularly if there are "little ones" around. This also helps to inhibit the 24/7 syndrome that can encroach into your day (or night), unless you choose to segment your time in that manner. Trust me from experience ... you don't want to make your dining room into an office on a frequent basis.

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Kathy Scheessele Charlotte, NC

I second Cal's suggestion. A dedicated "home office" area is essential, particularly if there are "little ones" around. This also helps to inhibit the 24/7 syndrome that can encroach into your day (or night), unless you choose to segment your time in that manner. Trust me from experience ... you don't want to make your dining room into an office on a frequent basis.

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