|Telecommuting poses several unique challenges workers may not anticipate until they actually go through with it.|
As with any job, it's important for telecommuters to consult their managers to set expectations at the start about schedules. "Just because you are working from home doesn't mean you can work from midnight to 5 a.m.," Huhman says. "You need to set ground rules pretty early on. If the company doesn't set them you should bring it forward as an employee." At her company, Huhman says employees usually have pre-determined "core hours" they must work, but beyond that, employees can customize their schedules to pick up kids from school or go to the gym as long as they tell the team in advance and still get their work done. Stay in constant contact with your co-workers.
One risk when working from home is that you might miss out on the casual check-ins with your boss and watercooler conversations with your co-workers that help build confidence and camaraderie in the office. "Whether you are the one running the team or just a part of it, the most important thing is communication. Just like you check in a lot at work, you should check in a lot at home," Huhman says. In particular, she recommends taking advantage of options such as Skype, instant messenger systems, Facebook messages and, of course, email to stay in touch with your co-workers throughout the day. This way, you have a chance to build relationships and everyone knows you are busy working when you're supposed to be. After all, you may be out of sight at home, but that doesn't mean you should be out of mind at work.