8 tips for telecommuting

My past two internships have been in an office, where I’ve had a morning and afternoon commute, had a limited lunch break, had to wear a suit, etc.

Doesn’t sound that appealing.

But working from home has its own difficulties and opportunities.

  1. DON’T slack off: With nobody looking over your shoulder, it’s easy to just turn on the TV and sleep in. But chances you have deadlines and responsibilities to fulfill.
  2. DO make a schedule: Set aside times to work on your internship responsibilities. Make a to-do list for each day and stick to it. Same with a sleep schedule. Wake up at a regular time to avoid sleeping in and losing your day to your pillow. 
  3. DON’T watch TV while doing work: Obviously do what works. Some people need some external stimulation when they’re working on something dull, like copying and pasting spreadsheets or filling out photo metadata. But more likely than not, you’re either not watching TV or not doing your work.
  4. Do focus on your work: It’s all about time management. Work for 30 minutes, relax for five, rinse and repeat. Or work for an hour and then relax for 15. It’s a lot more useful than attempting (and often failing) to multitask.
  5. DON’T drop off the grid: When you’re not constantly talking to your coworkers and bosses in person, it’s easy to lose touch. At the end of your internship, you still want to feel like you worked with people, not machines.
  6. DO check in often: Email, texts, phone, Skype, Gchat, tweets, smoke signal, you name it. Keep in constant communication (without being obnoxious) with your boss or fellow interns. If there isn’t a regular meeting you can phone/Skype into, consider setting up a time each week to check in with your regular supervisor.
  7. DON’T forget the benefits of working at home: You get to wear pajamas to work, you can stop for a snack whenever you want, errands are easier to run, etc.
  8. DO get out of the house: Go out for drinks with friends, go see a movie, go for a bike ride. Cabin fever can really take a hit on your sanity.

I’m sure there are other tips, but I think this is a good start based on my experience. Comment here if you have other suggestions I can add!

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