Millennials crave workplace flexibility now more than ever—especially when this flexible option involves waking up in the morning, walking in the living room, booting up a laptop and working from home once or twice during the week in cozy pajamas.
Telecommuting has increased significantly in the U.S. as about 13.4 million people traded in daily commutes for instant work productivity in 2010 compared with 9.2 million U.S. workers in 1997.
However, for young professionals who are fresh in their career, working from home can be challenging when you are not directly in front of your boss everyday. Here are tips to stand out on the days you are an office of one:
1. Over communicate. As a former serial telecommuter for almost two years, I can say that managers love when you go to them before they come to you. This simply means if you and your boss have discussed the details of a project you are working on, you don’t want to wait until he/ she checks in on you. Provide quick updates via email throughout the day to let them know the status on timing for project completion or any challenges you are encountering. They will appreciate it.
2. Contribute ideas during phone meetings. While your face may not be visible, try not to let your voice go unheard too. If you have a great idea, throw it out there and get comfortable with being an integral member of the team even through the phone. Position yourself as someone your colleagues can always rely on for creative suggestions or possible resolutions to challenges.
3. Volunteer for projects outside of your normal tasks. You may experience some downtime in between big projects and deadlines while working from home and that’s okay. This is the perfect time to check in with your team and find out if there is an opportunity to work on something new that you’ve never done before. Utilize these opportunities to enhance your skillset and stretch your brain.
4. Request occasional face time. Thanks to Skype, Google Hangouts and FaceTime, telecommuters still have the opportunity to personalize interaction with their boss and other team members through video conferencing technology. Sometimes, it’s best to have a visual connection when you start experiencing the cabin fever that usually strikes during the last few hours of the workday. Quick video meetings are perfect for end of the day wrap-ups and discussing the next day’s agenda.
Jaimee Ratliff (@WhatJaiSays) is a nationally published resource on career and life development. A communications professional who is addicted to hashtags and skymiles, Jaimee strives to encourage young professionals to maximize their personal brand while energizing their personal passions. When she is not dreaming up plans for her next international adventure, she can be found in Houston writing up a storm. Jaimee is also a freelance content creator for individuals and businesses. Her writing has appeared in Brazen Careerist, the Chicago Tribune and Ragan Communications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College.