Human Resources

Telework and Telecommuting Series – Pt.3

Hey Compliance Warriors!

A continuation of the necessary skills and discipline for self-management. We might think working from home will be the same as office life, but you’ll quickly learn that is can be (and usually is) a very different experience. Read on…

Part Three: Self-Management

Self-management can cover a wide range of aspects and situations. Self-discipline plays a large factor in how we handle our everyday activities and actions. Often times we may ignore what needs to be fixed first since we do not want to admit our own faults or shortcomings. But a part of self-discipline is being able to realize what has to be done to correctly manage ourselves and succeed.

Recognize and Remove Bad Habits

Honestly, when someone asks us to name one of our bad habits, many of us will answer that we don’t have any. But this type of attitude does not help us improve or develop through goals and work. When we look at our typical work day, make a list of the bad habits you have been exhibiting, such as procrastinating or taking short cuts when writing a report. Identify ways these bad habits have been hindering either how assignments are completed or how they are affecting your overall work. Then create an action plan as to how you can remove these bad habits from your work routine. Plan ways to finish work ahead of time or how you can improve how long it takes to enter a report. Sometimes admitting what we do wrong can be a challenge, but once we do and take the steps needed to fix them, we’ll not only feel more confident about ourselves, but our job abilities as well.

Ask yourself:

  • “What am I doing that is hindering my work?”
  • “Is this something I can change?”
  • “How does this habit affect me?”

Reflect on Mistakes and Learn from Them

Many of us have been led to believe that making a mistake is a bad thing and should be avoided at all costs. However, the opposite is true. Making mistakes is something that will always happen and can serve as a learning tool when viewed in the right direction. In the office, when we make a mistake, one of the first steps is to see what happened to cause the mistake. Was it something you did or something that could have been changed? Then, reflect back on it and determine what you can do to learn from the mistake. Is this something you can avoid in the future? Is this something that you can handle differently the next time it happens? Don’t let mistakes make you feel like a failure – instead view them as a method of continued learning and growth.

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Establish Good Habits

After determining our mistakes and bad habits at work, we are definitely ready for some positive thinking! Establishing good habits at work can be just as important as simply identifying the negative ones. The key to establishing good habits is in knowing how to control yourself in your environment and sticking with it over time. First, determine what habits you want to establish and would benefit you at work, such as trying to complete projects on time and remembering to run software checks on your company computer. Determine what you need to do to make this a habit (write it down or add it to a routine). Then don’t be afraid to put your plan into action. Repetition is the key to all learning, so by repeating your new action plans and improving old behaviors, they will eventually become good habits that you will not have to remind yourself about.

Tips for creating good habits:

  • Identify what you want to change
  • Write reminders to follow in the beginning
  • Fit new actions into your routine until they become habit
  • Give yourself ample time to adjust, usually between 30-60 days

Be Assertive with Yourself

You will not always have a manager or supervisor present, so it is important that you are assertive enough with yourself to ensure that your work is done. When planning out your work schedule, make decisions about what needs to be done and how you will do it. However, if you fail to be assertive and make yourself focus, all of your assignments, tasks, and duties will fall apart and will not be completed. You can only control your actions, so you are the only one that can make assertive decisions and ensure that you are managing your time well enough to succeed.

Keys to being assertive:

  • Say what you are going to do and stick with it
  • Remember to focus on the task at hand – don’t get side-tracked
  • Hold yourself accountable for these actions or mistakes that can occur

Practical Illustration

Joshua was enjoying his new position as a teleworker. He liked working from home and worked well without being supervised. But Joshua knew he had a bad habit of coming in a few minutes late or taking a few extra minutes at lunch. It always made his daily schedule delayed and made his time feel off track. When Joshua reviewed how his days have been going, he decided to make an effort to change this habit and create a better one in its place. The next week, he made a change to come into work ten minutes early and only take his allotted lunch time. He was assertive with himself and made sure he stuck to his routine. At the end of the week, Joshua noticed a big improvement with his productivity and found extra time in the day to stay ahead. He was very happy with what a little change could do for him.


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Lisa Smith is CEO of Andere Corporation and Chief Content Developer at HelpDeskSuites.com. Follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, listen to her Small Business Spoonfuls Podcast, and find more in her Compliance Warriors Facebook Group.

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