Accountability and Working from Home

Working from home has gotten a bad rep. It didn’t really help the cause when Yahoo went ahead and called all of their employees back to the office in order to boost productivity. If you work from home you’re probably used to the usual comments from others who are unfamiliar with your set up. “Do you sleep in until 10?” “Do you just work in front of the television?” “How do you even get work done?”

If people aren’t used to the concept of working from home they can often be tricked into thinking it’s all fun, games and daytime TV. But for those who are based out of their home, they know that their standard ‘day at the office’ is not that much different from anyone else’s … aside from slightly more comfortable clothing and better coffee. We’ve already featured a post on how to be a success at working remotely. Now it’s time to consider how to remain accountable to your tasks, managers and peers when working at home.

While big problems seem to call for bigger solutions, there are more effective – and personable – ways to foster workplace accountability than digging into VPN records. Here are three steps that both employers and employees can take to ensure that everyone is being accountable to each other, and the organization as a whole.

Maintain trust

One of the first steps in maintaining accountability is establishing trust. Much with any other area in your life, trust is a two way street. Your employer must trust that you’re taking your job seriously while working from home, and that things are getting done. Ensure there’s an open dialogue between yourself and those you maintain contact with at the office. If you have any issues, it’s important that you bring them up before they escalate into real problems.

Choose the right tools

If you’re working from home, it’s important to find the tools that work best for you. If you’re responsible for sharing confidential information back and forth, you’ll need a secure file sharing provider. Video conferencing is a great way to stay looped-in with co-workers, so find the solutions that you’re most comfortable with. Task management is important, so consider sharing a calendar with co-workers, or signing up for a project management service. All of these tools keep you connected with co-workers – ensuring due dates are met and projects are kept on schedule.

Stay in touch

The tools are important – but what you do with them matters more. Keeping in contact with your co-workers not only keeps you up to date on what they’re working on, but it also creates a stronger relationship. And where there are shared goals and familiarity there will also be accountability. As an added benefit, you’ll also get to know your co-workers as more than just a name in your instant messaging list.

Do you work from home? What steps do you take to keep yourself accountable? Let us know in the comments below.

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