You Can Thrive From Home... Ways to Win Telecommuting

March 18, 2020

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You can thrive at home... Ways to win telecommuting.

The COVID-19 situation has seemingly changed reality the last several weeks and over last few months globally. It’s a terrible situation and as humans, we will pull through it in the end.

One of the outfalls of it is driving people to telecommute, also known as working remotely or "remote work". If you are involved with lean or change management, we are used to being in the gemba and working closely with people. It’s what’s we do and hopefully what you enjoy. If you are still working on site with incredibly courageous people whether in manufacturing, health care, or service industry who are keeping things going, then God bless you and please be safe. If you are asked to retreat to the home and working remote, it could be tough not being around people or near the gemba. What can we do?

Here are some ways on how to work from home… and thrive.


1. See this as an opportunity rather then a hurdle.

Yes, this is impactful and likely interfering with many great things teams and people were working on or planning to together. That’s the scarcity view of it. Instead, view it with an abundance mindset. See the opportunity to spend some more time with family, take a step back to breath if you have been working your tail off, and also an opportunity to grow yourself (and team) in many ways including physically, mentally, and spiritually. Telecommuting can actually present some unique opportunities if you pause and think about it.


2. Make sure you home office space is on point.

Working remote needs a basic setup to get it done. this includes a good phone line (maybe not a cell if possible), computer, a good desk space, solid internet connection, and some degree of privacy for calls and working. The fortunate thing is many of us have these things today so shouldn’t be a big deal getting setup if you haven’t been working remote before.

Another benefit of working from home is you can even go outside to take some breaks or even work is weather permits. Doing a call or WebEx outside on a nice sunny day can be a real energizer, no matter how boring a call can get. 


3. Be disciplined and stick to a routine.

Keep your schedule intact and plan your weeks and days as before (assuming you were!). When you are home, it could be tempting to hit snooze and sleep in. Don’t. Get up and get going as normal. It can also be tempting to lounge around or watch TV. While breaks are okay and encouraged to recharge, don’t let them take down your day. It can also be easy to get distracted. Don’t. Stay disciplined and use this opportunity to have some freedom and space to put in some work and get ahead.

While knocking out the meetings via calls or WebEx, this is also a great time to work on projects that don’t require being on site. Training programs, papers, presentation decks, and developing content are just some examples. Maybe you or your team are behind in this area, then it’s a great time to “catch up”. Use the time remote to get ahead as you will find outside of planned calls, there will be less work-related distractions. Leverage that. And don't schedule calls just to have calls. Ask if a meeting/call is really needed, and if not, use other ways to keep in touch such as messaging, chat, or text. 


4. Build (or strengthen) some habits.

If you haven’t been on top of some positive habits like working out or reading, now presents a great time to begin building up some new habits. You have the freedom and structure to do it, so excuses are limited. If you have been diligent about your habits, good work, but now is a also a great time to recommit and strengthen them.

Make sure you are working out each day which will help your health, but also relieve stress and anxiety, especially with everything going on. Read each day or consume some type of learning content, rather than being consumed by the news and media. If you just watch the news and media, you will get absorbed in some of the fear and negative thinking. Learning keeps you growing and positive. Take the opportunity to learn and maybe focus on building up some skills you may have not had time for previously. Consider journaling and writing if you have not. Over time, we all will get a little “cagey” form not being out and around a lot of people. Writing will help ease the mind and help.

Also be sure to take time to socialize, whether with family in the house or if alone in home, stay connected with others virtually. Don’t just focus only on work, it’s important to balance out socializing in time like this to help relieve any stress and anxiety. This is also a good time to rejuvenate your spirituality.


5. Relax. things could be worse, and we will get through it.

Panic, frustration, stress, and fear helps no one. While it can be easy to get sucked into the vortex of negativity, staying positive is contagious (in a good way) to those around you, including in your home but also virtually to those you are interacting with. If you are a leader of people, managing a team remote, this is critical as well. Your attitude and outlook, positive or negative, will impact your team. Be a leader and lead them, even if not with them.


You can thrive and be very productive working remote. You just need to view it positively as an opportunity and be disciplined with intent in how you approach it. In these unprecedented times, I am sure we will all get through it and this virus will pass. As it does, be safe, be healthy, and thrive!

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