A recurring theme here at Telework Academy is that if you want to succeed at working from home, you’re going to have to go above and beyond in certain areas of your work. The most important of these areas is communication. Communication with your employer, colleagues, clients, anyone you need to connect with to complete your daily tasks.
Why is communication such a big deal? Because we’ve all had that experience. You send an email, or a text… and something gets lost in translation. It is so easy to miscommunicate our tone over digital mediums. This is why keeping a constant, clear line of communication is vital for teleworkers.
Here are a few tips to help you build a stellar set of communication skills.
- Be friendly. That’s right, this is one of the most important things you can do… just be a likable human! From your very first phone conversations with employers, be professional but also keep your tone light. Make a few jokes. Remember, people want to hire someone that they feel they’d enjoy interacting with. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you need to behave like an automated robot. There’s a balance between professional and casual that needs to be struck, and you’ll find over time where that line is for you.
- Organize, organize, organize. You’re going to want to be able to keep in touch with the people you work with constantly… but not annoyingly. This is where tools like Google Drive and Basecamp really come in handy. Keeping track of your hours, content you’re creating for a client, an editorial calendar, a running list of contacts… all of these things should be done through a website that allows you to update your employer without having to email them every time you add a new line to a spreadsheet. Using a Drive or Basecamp type program will allow your employer to be updated in real time, so that they can check in on the work you’ve been doing whenever they want without you having to remind each other. Familiarize yourself with a couple of these programs, they’re used a ton in telecommute positions.
- Develop clarity. When you’re writing an email, such as a weekly update on what you’ve been working on, be very clear in the steps you’ve taken and those you plan to take. Keep everyone on the same page, so that there are no surprises.
- Be on time. Unless there’s an emergency, you shouldn’t be delivering work late. Period. This is an area where freelancers really need to be on point. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re taking your work from home job for granted, or that it isn’t a major priority in your life. Be a day early when you can.
- Wake up with the sun. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you don’t have some office hours. Getting up early will give you more time in the day to get your work and life stuff done. You’ll also be available when everyone else gets into the office and sends their morning emails!