Going the distance

How to make telecommuting work

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. January 5, 2016

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With the dramatic changes in the corporate workplace, an increasing number of employees are now working from home or other off-site location. This provides great opportunities but also great challenges for workers, and requires an enormous amount of focus and discipline.

A close colleague with whom I've worked for many years was a writer for corporate and promotional brochures. Because of a change in her employment situation, she shifted her office to her home, and she was faced with the challenge of caring for her two school-age children and elderly parents who visit on occasion.

My colleague realized that she could easily become distracted and get behind in her work if she — or her family — viewed each day as a potential vacation day. Thus, she made it crystal clear to her children that her work is her bread and butter. When they come home from school at 3 p.m., they are responsible for taking care of themselves. Mom should not be interrupted because her work is vital for the family's wellbeing.

Likewise when grandma and grandpa visit, my colleague makes it a point to explain that Monday through Thursday are full-time work days, and that her parents have to entertain themselves on those days.

We need to take care of ourselves physically and professionally, and if we are working from home, that means asking visitors and family members to be respectful of that important commitment.

Originally published October 23, 2014


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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Jan. 05, 2016