If you are worried about a slump in your performance or your career when working from home, then this set of 15 tips should help.
The key is to focus on clear communication and ensuring when your present concepts you ensure you are visually supporting your work.
15 Tips on Communicating & Achieving Goals Working from Home
- Be Crystal Clear On Goals
- Deliver On Your Goals
- Deliver On Your Goals The Right Way
- Build Trust With Your Manager & Team
- Organize Regular One On One Meetings With Your Boss
- Be Super Prepared For One On One Meetings
- Be Available In Your Instant Messaging System
- Be Available To Call And Call People Often
- Attend Team Meetings & Speak Up
- Communicate Clearly
- Speak With A Smile On Your Face
- Share A Little Humor
- Be Visual
- Push For A Face To Face Team Meeting
- Get to the Point
Be Crystal Clear On Goals
When working from home it is even more important to be crystal clear on your goals. Many low-grade managers typically want to micro-manage their staff and dish out small tasks one by one. When you are remote to your manager the only way of working is to understand your goals clearly.
- Know the outcome: Increased sales, better customer satisfaction rating, new products developed.
- Measure the outcome: 10% increase in sales, 2-point shift on customer satisfaction, 3 new products developed
- Know the timeline: 10% increase in sales in 6 months, 2 points on customer satisfaction in 12 months, 1 new product every 3 months.
Now that you are clear on your goals you need to keep your boss and team updated on the goals. If you feel you need support to achieve the goals, ask for support, from your manager or even your team.
Deliver On Your Goals
If you are going to be trusted to work from home and even be considered for promotions and career development, you have to be clear on your goals and deliver those outcomes.
In my experience of Silicon Valley corporations, you are only able to work from home if you are senior enough, professional enough and deliver on your targets. Most corporations do not care whether you work from home or in the office. If you are the one that delivers results you can literally work where the hell you like.
And if you deliver the results, you are usually going places.
Deliver On Your Goals The Right Way
It is not enough to simply deliver on your goals. If you hit your targets and are disrespectful, inconsiderate or in any way intolerant of others, this will damage your career.
- You need to be patient and consider other people’s viewpoints and situation.
- Never ever cross the line by being too intimate, personal or discriminating in any way
- Never be rude
- Never ever, ever RAISE YOUR VOICE
This translates into “do not be a dick”.
[Related Article: The Pros & Cons Of Telecommuting]
Organize Regular One On One Meetings With Your Boss
If your boss has not already done it, ensure you have a regular one on one meeting to sync up on goals, targets, and progress. It is a valuable opportunity to get feedback on your performance and support for areas of difficulty. Regular valuable communication is the key. Do not meet if you have nothing to say, meet for a purpose.
Be Super Prepared For One On One Meetings
If you really want to impress, be ready for meetings with your manager. The best situation is to have a notebook on your desk, or an excel spreadsheet always open so that you can note down topics as they arise during your working week that you need to discuss with your boss. Topics will include things like new business ideas, new staffing, updates on critical meetings, difficult customers, new business wins and inputs on important decisions.
If you do not develop the habit of capturing them when they occur, then you will forget them by the time your one to one meeting happens.
So, when the one to one meeting happens, it is 5 minutes of “Hi how are you, how are the family” and then 25 minutes of powering through 10 different topics. No time wasted and maximum results. Your boss will love you for that.
I ran a high-performance team for many years and had a one to one meeting for 30 minutes with each of my 35 staff every 2 weeks. I had an excel sheet tab for every person where I noted my topics for them and their topics and actions for me. I was super organized and was able to deliver what I needed to, to help them be successful. But what I loved the most was when someone was really organized and maximized the value of my time, that made me respect them even more.
[Related Article: One On One Meetings That Inspire]
Be Available In Your Instant Messaging System
When you are in the office, everyone can see you sitting there. When you are at home, the only thing people can see is if you are available on the instant messaging system. So, make sure your status is green and available. If you are in the office and someone wants to know “where do I find the latest PowerPoint on this topic” they will simply ask you. It is the same for instant messaging, be available and responsive.
Be Available To Call And Call People Often
Nothing wastes more time than someone sending you an email to arrange a good time for you to be able to answer a few questions. It might take you 6 hours to finally see that email and then you need to go to your calendar and give them a time to talk.
If you need to talk, talk. Call people, make it quick and let them hear your voice. It enables you to build a rapport and get things done. Don’t simply be another item in their inbox be a human being.
Attend Team Meetings & Speak Up
As a telecommuter, it is easy to sit inside the four walls of your office and say nothing in a team meeting, but over time you will be slowly forgotten. To be successful you need to do the exact opposite. If your manager is good they will usually make time for a team round-table to enable everyone to share their progress and updates to the team.
Be ready for the team meeting, have at least one topic to raise on the round-table and be a speaker regularly on the fixed agenda. This does not mean speaking just for the hell of it, make it meaningful and value-adding, and you are on the right path.
It took me a while to work this out and I learned this from my staff in our year-end performance reviews. When I asked for 360-degree feedback about myself and my performance, many people said that I was such a great communicator. When I probed further, they meant I spoke at a steady rhythm and that I spoke very clearly and pronounced.
This is an important skill I stumbled upon. You see I am English, in fact from a place in middle England called Warwickshire. In this part of the U.K., we do not have a strong regional accent, in fact, it is a relatively posh accent.
This means that when I spoke on Skype or in video conferences every nationality had a chance of understanding me. In fact, I always take the effort to spell out clearly important points.
If your team are non-native English speakers, you really need to take your time and be clear when you are talking.
Speak With A Smile On Your Face
When I was 17 years old at college I landed a tough summer job. I was being paid to go door to door trying to sell double glazing windows. In the late 1980s double glazed windows were like the electric car in terms of innovation…yes it is sad.
Suffice to say, the people who answered their door to a snot-faced, pimply teenager who was trying to sell them windows where not the most polite people. It was a miserable job, but what I did learn was to put a big smile on my face at the beginning of any interaction. A big smile and a firm, energetic and friendly voice make for a great remote office worker. Do this with every one of your co-workers and you will do just fine, it could be worse you could be trying to sell them double glazing.
The best compliment you will ever get from a British person is they will say you are a “good laugh”. The British love humor, that does not mean they are all funny, it just means that even trying gets you bonus points.
Inject a little humor into your interactions with people and they will warm to you. I do not mean telling jokes, just trying to see the lighter side of life.
When I want to get an important point across I always use a visual. A visual is a graphical representation of the key points you are trying to make.
Important points warrant pulling up a PowerPoint presentation. But in team meetings, it is simply worth sharing the meeting agenda and minutes so that the audience can see (even if they join late grrr) what the topic is and who the actions belong to.
The visual side of the brain is a lot more receptive than the audio receptors. As they say “a picture paints a thousand words” and this is as true in remote team meetings as it is in an art exhibition.
Get to the Point
The number of times I have joined a conference call and a few people on the call have wasted the first 10 minutes talking about the commute to work, their dog is sick or something nonsensical. No one cares, and if you are on a call with 20 other people and you waste 10 minutes of 20 people’s time you have wasted 200 minutes of human life, those 200 minutes could have been used on sitting in traffic or caring for their sick pets.
Perhaps I am a little impatient on this because I have literally spent thousands of hours of my life on conference calls.