Posted on March 24, 2022 at 1:59 PM by Melissa Horton
It's clear we are not going back to the way things were. At least not all the way. Many of us are not even going back to the office. I've had several conversations just this past week with people who haven't been back to their office in more than a year. Some have never been to their office or even met their co-workers. With an evolving understanding of what roles actually require in-person collaboration, many job descriptions have been re-written with work-from-home as the new standard. While this may seem like the Holy Grail to many, it also presents new challenges. How does one successfully navigate a work-from-home career?
Clarify expectations. With less in-person contact, many jobs are necessarily moving away from a time-based standard (9-5) to a results based standard. This can be a good thing as long as you and your boss agree on exactly what success looks like. When are you expected to be available to answer the phone and email? What will indicate to your boss that you are meeting or exceeding expectations? Ensure you are crystal clear about how success will be defined in this new arrangement.
Cultivate the environment. Work from home blues the line between our personal and professional lives by definition. This makes it important to create an environment within your home that is conducive to your best professional output. Create a quiet and distraction-free area that is dedicated to work and separate from normal routines of your home. An office is ideal. It should be arranged - even decorated - in a way that makes it distinct from your home. This communicates to yourself and to others in your house that you are in work mode when you are in this area. It also gives you a place to "leave" work, so you can hopefully engage in your personal life at the end of the day.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Communication is always an area of improvement but perhaps never more so than in a decentralized work environment. Selection of the method of communication (call/text/email) can be as important as the content in the perpetual absence of body language. Keep in mind you may be working with people who have never worked with you personally and have no context for your communication style, so carefully choosing your message and delivery is key.
Thoughtfully considering the challenges associated with a work-from-home role will help ensure that you are able to be successful both professionally and personally in a brand new way.