Prepping For Telecommuting

Telecommuting is an enviable luxury that many companies are beginning to offer their employees. Rather than drive in a sleep muddled haze to the office, stumble to the coffee machine, and then begin the day under the glory of too bright florescent lights, you can begin to sleep in, roll out of bed, and begin work on your personal laptop.

Before you rush into telecommuting, you should ensure that you are equipped with the proper knowledge, tech, and surroundings to succeed. Telecommuting can be a dangerous game for the unprepared. Here are four steps to ensure your work from home initiative is a success.

Electronic Device

Most jobs require some form of electronic supply. When you work at the office, most companies provide everything that you will need to perform your job. Very few companies will purchase their employees a laptop, a mouse, a keyboard, or a head set when they work from home.

Employees should only attempt to work from home once they have ensured that they have all of the devices necessary to perform their professional duties at home. Don’t just rush out to purchase every item you think that you need. Since new electronics can be expensive, limit the number of new items purchased by:

  • Identifying what devices you already have lying around.
  • Checking if you can purchase or borrow old electronics from family and friends.
  • Determining if any of your items can be finagled to a new purpose. (For example a tablet can be transformed into a laptop by purchasing a wireless keyboard and possibly a USB OTG)

Protect Your Main Device

Before you begin working from home, you might want to do a deep clean of your laptop. If your computer is still under warranty, take the time to bring it to a professional for cleaning and virus removal.

A deep clean of the hardware will catch any problems before they result in catastrophic problems that could result in a loss of a computer permanently or for a few weeks.

A deep clean of the software (for viruses) will eliminate any bugs that could potentially lead to a cybercriminal stealing confidential professional information that could lead to you being indirectly responsible for a major company hack.

If you don’t have a plan that currently offers a free computer cleaning, you should focus on:

  • Updating your virus protection and your computer software.
  • Run full computer and virus scans.
  • Clean the dust from the laptop. (Dust can lead to computer overheating).

Fill Knowledge Gaps

Now is the time to analyze your technical knowledge. It’s an unfortunately reality that 1 in 3 U.S. workers lack the knowledge to be able to use the technology required for their job. And only 1 in 10 have truly mastered the use of the tech tools that are required of them.

This gap in knowledge while a concern is manageable when you have someone within the building who can walk you through how to utilize the tool when needed. Without that immediate support, individuals who have not mastered a tool might fail to complete a job, might need to delay performing the task by hours or days, or might spend an excessive amount of time performing their duties wrong.

Before you begin telecommuting you can limit the possibility of skill gap problems by:

  • Compiling a list of devices, apps, or software that you have not mastered.
  • Asking co-workers to walk you through how to use unfamiliar tech or give you links to articles or videos highlighting how to use the tech.
  • Waiting a week or two to begin telecommuting (if possible) to proactively begin using the tech. This will allow you to get immediate aid when you stumble across a problem area.
  • Letting managers or co-workers know that you might need to ask questions about certain apps or programs. This way they will have an eye out for any questions you have.

The ability to telecommute is an enviable perk. Before you rush off to begin your new work-from-home adventure, you should ensure you are equipped with the right equipment and the right knowledge. Failure to prepare could pave the way to failing to perform your job efficiently. Failure could lead to a very abrupt end to your ability to telecommute.

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