Schedule options include telework, flextime and a compressed work schedule.
Teleworking eliminates the traditional commute by allowing employees to work remotely as needed.
Here are a few tips if you are new to telework:
- Determine the tasks & jobs you can do. Creating a daily/weekly list helps. Planning is crucial. This planning list will be helpful later. Keep folders to help organize paperwork. Make sure you have all the pieces (electronic files AND handouts/files/ paperwork) with you. Have a dedicated telework box/bag/folder. Keep everything together in ONE place.
- Tech check – Make sure you have everything you need in tech. Laptop, cell phone, VPN set up/ files/thumb drive, headset or earbuds. Also, make sure you know how to use conferencing. Programs like WebEx, GoTo meeting, Zoom, Skype, and Facetime are vital. Utilize Team, Slack, FB group, etc. for instant messaging when needed. Be familiar with teleconference etiquette (mute mic/no background noise/state your name before comment). Understand document sharing like Sharepoint/Dropbox. Make sure you have your passwords for everything.
- Establish home workspace. Should be clear of clutter (as much as possible) and space to work. It should be quiet as well (think of those conference calls). Ensure there is good lighting and a comfortable chair. Think ergonomics.
- Communicate the basics. These include your set telework days, hours, the phone number for people to reach you, the expected response time for all messages. Communicate the procedure you will follow if you are not available for a call (on another line or conference call) and assure them you will return the voicemail promptly. If you will be leaving for an appointment, let the office (supervisor) know you are stepping out and your expected return time. When you return, let them know you are “back in the office.” Don’t be MIA.
- If you are a new teleworker, plan your day and communicate your expected deliverables to your supervisor. Use that task list we mentioned in #1 and discuss it with your supervisor. Clear communication is crucial as a new teleworker.
- Show up for work. Get dressed and put your professional self on. Use your commute time for exercise, coffee prep and breakfast. Then start work - return email/ correspondence, move around in between calls (think about sometimes taking calls standing up). There’s nothing wrong with casual but make sure you are mentally ready. Think professionally.
- Work smart. Keep notes on what you are working on, organize your files on your laptop. Save as you go. Back up your work.
- Take breaks. Get water. Don’t snack all day. Take a lunch break. Go outside, breathe some fresh air, get the mail, walk around the block. At the end of your lunch break – you are “back at work.”
- Check in with co-workers. Collaborate. Stay involved. If you have completed your daily task list, then look to upcoming tasks. Do more planning. Watch an online training class.
- End your day. Wrap up the work, check email one more time, close out the day. Jot notes for the next day. And then go back the next morning fresh. Set mental boundaries between home and work.
Flextime allows employees to change their start, ending, lunch and break times.
Compressed work schedules compress the work week into fewer days, such as 80 hours compressed into nine work days and one day off (9/80 schedule).