Did you know that about 8 million Americans work from home? Working from home seems like the holy grail of working arrangements. You hear a lot of great stories like people having time to keep up with laundry during the day, or people working in yoga pants and a t-shirt. Some of those stories are true, and there are exceptions to every rule, but for the most part, working from home isn’t exactly the dream-come-true many people envision. You still have to work. Chances are you’ll still need to teleconference into meetings, whether via Skype or Zoom, or some other web conferencing software, and you’re probably not going to have any more free time than you had when you went into the office every day.
You may also encounter another problem as you begin your work-from-home journey. Many employers and managers are uncomfortable with the idea of employees working from home. Part of the reason is that they’ve heard the same stories you have of dreamy home working environments that give employees room to slack off. Most companies get very nervous about productivity sliding when their employees work remotely. Perhaps they’re from an older generation and the whole concept of work-from-home is strange to them, or perhaps they feel their employees aren’t productive enough even in the office and think that things will get worse when they don’t have direct supervision of their workers’ daily activities.
Whatever their reasons, you may find yourself with a boss who doesn’t think you’re being productive enough at home. We’ve got a list of things you can do to help your boss change their mind.
1 – Turn on audio notifications
This is a simple thing you can do to help your boss understand that you’re not just being productive, but vigilant about keeping up with work. Whatever messaging system your company uses to open communication lines between remote workers, whether that’s Slack, Teams, Discord, or even just email, turn on your audio (or visual) notifications for that app. Why? So that you can respond as quickly as possible to any communication from your boss or other employees. Even if you’re just using a nonsensical one or two-word phrase, acknowledge that you’ve seen communications meant for your team as quickly as you can. This shows your boss that you’re actively keeping up with the conversation.
2 – Don’t avoid video chat
This is a big one. You may be tempted to just use audio for teleconferences, but this may make your boss wonder why you’re unwilling to hop on video for the call. Are you underdressed? Are you secretly in a coffee shop? Are you actively sipping from a margarita? Your boss is going to start inventing scenarios for why you aren’t willing to turn on your webcam, and none of them are going to do you any favors.
3 – Check-in at open and close of day
A lot of employers try to schedule early and late meetings simply to make sure you’re putting in a full work day. Take pre-emptive action and just check in on a group chat or email first thing and almost last thing every day. Don’t leave your boss wondering if you’re putting in a full day of work.