The challenge of teleworking effectively

Teleworking effectively is a skill

The word “work” takes on a different meaning depending on whether we are talking about knowledge work or manual work. In the former, “working” is associated with what you do—regardless of where you do it—whereas in the latter, “working” is associated with the place you must go to do your job.

By its very nature, one of the characteristics of knowledge work is that it is not necessary—and even more so with the means currently available—to coincide with others in time and space to achieve results.

A very common mistake is to think that working remotely is—other than the obvious differences—very similar to working from the office. The truth is that these are different ways of working that in turn require different skills.

When this is not understood, teleworking becomes a nightmare, since not teleworking properly amplifies and aggravates the existing dysfunctions in face-to-face work.

Bear in mind too that to be an effective person—in this new environment or in any other environment—you need to change various behaviours and this requires a transformation process that calls for effort, patience, and commitment on your part.

An opportunity to improve

Starting to routinely telework offers a fantastic opportunity to re-evaluate your work habits, correct errors and incorporate good practices.

Something to consider when you start is that technology is merely a means for your effectiveness. Accordingly, just give it the importance it has and take it easy. It may take a while for everything to function as you expect and for you to be able to manage it smoothly.

What is really important is to analyse what you’re currently doing and to decide what to keep on doing, what to stop doing, what to avoid doing, and what to start doing.

What to keep on doing

Telework is different from continuing the workday at home or working occasionally during vacation time. Though obvious, it is often forgotten or overlooked. While it is true that teleworking brings flexible scheduling, you will also have to be available from time to time to interact with others.

Successfully working from home is a skill, just like programming, designing or writing. It takes time and commitment to develop that skill, and the traditional office culture doesn’t give us any reason to do that. Alex Turnbull

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