In many respects, partially remote workers possess the best of both worlds. Days in the office provide social interaction with colleagues, opportunities for face-to-face collaboration, and a direct sense of connection with the company and its operations. Remote days offer a respite from commuting, greater flexibility as to where and when work gets done, and periods of productivity without interruption.
Making the most of such an arrangement, however, involves some forethought.
Consider these suggestions for ensuring things run smoothly when you divide work time between home and an on-site office:
Communicate your schedule.
Don’t force your colleagues into a time-wasting game of Where’s Waldo: The Home vs. Office Edition. Frustrations mount when partially remote workers fail to make their whereabouts easily known, so demonstrate courtesy and professionalism by keeping everyone informed.
“Let people know your anticipated schedule and the preferred method of contact,” says Wayne Turmel, co-founder of the Remote Leadership Institute. “Use the status on your email, IM, or group collaboration software like Slack or Skype for Business to make life easy on others. If you share calendars, make sure that you have blocked your time clearly, with the times you will be unavailable and what you’re working on.”
Keep family in the loop.
Mixed schedules can confuse people in your household, too, so keep them up to date with an easily accessible calendar. You don’t want to discover on the train ride home from the office that your husband thought you were available to pick up the kids from soccer practice.
Discussing your partially remote arrangement with family members also helps correct mistaken notions. If not informed about your job, kids automatically may think you’re available to them anytime you’re home. Similarly, they may feel shunned if you spend long periods of time in a home office without explanation. Explain that work takes place in many different environments, and sometimes that includes home. Ask them to respect the do not disturb sign on your office door, and post the time when you’ll be finished.
Plan your tasks.
“It’s an incontrovertible law of nature that if you actually need a physical file on a given day, it will be when you are working from home and can’t get your hands on it,” Turmel says.
Do what you can to prevent such scenarios by thinking ahead. Make a list of items to bring home from the office when you won’t be coming in for a day or two. Whenever possible, stick to cloud-based files and documents you can access anywhere.
Likewise, certain tasks may be more suitable to one place compared to the other. For instance, a conference room at the office provides a professional, safe environment to meet with clients. On the other hand, your home office may prove the perfect place to compose a report without colleagues stopping by to chat.
Make the most of each setting.
Finally, embrace the benefits of each place. Get your “people fix” when in the office, perhaps making a point of lunching with members of your team. On home-based days, do something special with the time you would have been commuting, such as taking an exercise class or cooking a big family dinner. Partial arrangement, but fuller life!
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com