Human Resources

Telework and Telecommuting Series – Pt.6

Hey Compliance Warriors!

We don’t want to just “wing it” when it comes to our livelihood. Having a plan and keeping organized can be a big help to all of us working from home. Even if you don’t have physical paperwork to keep track of, having your E-files properly sorted in your computer, etc. can be a big help. Read on…


Part Six: Organizing and Planning

Keeping track of our office activities helps us make efficient use of our time and can keep us focused throughout our assignments. For teleworkers, organizing and planning their work days plays a big part in their time management and their productivity. Organization allows the employee to plan their progress and monitor how they are doing. It also improves communication among teammates and forms better collaborations with them.

Plan for Additional Stress

When we make our schedule, we often try to keep it as tight as possible and don’t leave much for ‘wiggle room’. But this can cause us to panic when something goes wrong, a last minute task comes up, or a new project or ramp up of projects is being implemented. Extra stress can come out of nowhere and if we don’t plan for it or even prepare for it, it can cause more problems down the line. So when you make your schedule or a list of upcoming assignments, take a few minutes to think of any additional stress that can (and probably will) come up. Identify situations that can cause extra stress and may need more attention. Give yourself time to work in some ‘wiggle room’ in case something unexpected comes up. Being prepared for any additional stress or sudden changes can help the employee in the long run of their planning and organization.

When to Seek Help

As an employee, we often want to take on more work and responsibilities in order to reflect our job capabilities. We want to be able to show that we can handle a large workload and produce great work in whatever we do. But sometimes we have to admit when we need help and let someone assist us. When that happens, it is important to know who to contact and by what method. As a manager, determine at what point the employee needs to contact you and by what method. Outline if other employees can be contacted as helpers or team leaders.

Signs you need some help:

  • Projects are piling up or becoming too numerous
  • Job quality begins to decline
  • Even with time management, projects are not being completed
  • When you have no knowledge of a current project or assignment

Being Proactive – Not Reactive

Being prepared is a big part of planning and organizing, which is why it is best to be prepared for any mishap before it happens – be proactive rather than reactive. If we wait for something to go wrong before we act on it, we cannot think clearly about what to do and it may be too late to fix. When planning and organizing your schedule, take time to recognize areas where you can be proactive. If you know the copier is low on paper or toner, replace them before running out and setting you behind. If the forecast calls for rain, be sure to back up all files in case of a power outage. Taking these steps will help prevent the problem from getting worse and having to use more damage control later. Being proactive will always keep you one step ahead and ready to help the employee succeed.

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Establish Priorities and Attainable Goals

Establishing our priorities is a good practice to follow in order to keep track of work. Setting goals for ourselves is always a good practice, but we want to ensure that our goals are not so large and daunting that we scare ourselves away from trying to accomplish them. Focus on goals that you can realistically achieve and set attainable expectations for yourself. Start with small steps and then make later goals to go from there. Talk to your manager and team to determine what they want to achieve over a set amount of time (i.e. increased productivity, decreased absences) you can then set some personal goals about what you want to achieve (i.e. decreased data errors, increased sales quota).

Tips for setting attainable goals:

  • Start small – you can work up to the big stuff later.
  • Decide what you want to change/obtain now.
  • Determine what is in your power to change or control.

Practical Illustration

Sheila was brand new to the teleworkers team and was feeling anxious about starting some new assignments. After speaking with her new manager, she decided to make some new goals and set her priorities for working in this new environment. Her manager told her what to do if she ever needed help and told her not to wait until she was too overwhelmed to say something. So when Sheila set up her home office, she went through and looked for anything that could cause problems later, such as clearing off her desk area and ensuring that she had plenty of supplies. She knew there would be times when unexpected problems come up, but she knew she could handle them on her own, and if she couldn’t she knew how to reach her manager.


Enjoying the information you’ve learned here, but still have more questions? Then come sign up for our Boss Calls where we’ll discuss and answer any of your HR-related questions!



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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