Are you thinking about working flexibly? On this addition of Tipsy Tuesday Tara Dragon from Work Evolution shares her 10 best tips.
- Know what you mean by “flexible”. At Work Evolution, we define flexibility based on any combination of time (part time, flexible schedule, set your own hours, etc.), location (100% remote or a combination of home and office), and duration (seasonal, temporary, contract). In this way, both a full time 12-month contract and part time permanent role would be considered flexible.
- Communicate your plans with everyone who needs to know. This includes your manager, your coworkers, the people who work for you, your clients, your customers, your family, your childcare providers, etc. etc. If you have a structured schedule, you may want to include it in your email signature. If it varies, communicate regularly (E.g., set and share your schedule for the upcoming week on Friday afternoons).
- Set your boundaries and stick to them. Have a plan in place for things that come up when you aren’t working. Are you going to check your email from your phone and reply only to emergencies? Are you completely offline when you’re not working? Who will cover for you if a client/customer needs something urgently? Will you triage activities while you’re not working? Will you change your schedule/location to accommodate a client request or other meeting? Share your plans and be consistent in your follow-through.
- If you have the option to work remotely, know what type of social interaction you need and plan for it. Some professionals are fine working from home all the time and others get lonely and miss the interactions of an office. If you are the latter, you may choose to set up a schedule that balances your time between an office and home. If working in an office isn’t an option, explore working in locations such as coffee shops, the public library, or a co-work space.
- If you work from home, have a dedicated space. This is listed on every list of “how to work from home” and we can’t emphasize it enough. You need a space that you can walk away from when you aren’t working that is also separate from the other goings-on in your home.
- Get your technology and communication devices in order. Will you use your own computer or a company-issued one? Depending on your location, how do you connect to the network? Do people need to reach you by phone? Do you use other technology to communicate with a team (e.g., Slack, Jira, Trello, Skype, etc.)?
- Have a plan for document and records management. Many organizations have policies about how corporate information needs to be stored and used, particularly if you are working off-site and/or using your own computer. Can you take printed materials home with you? Can it be stored on your own computer? What about information sent to your personal email address?
- Be proactive about everything. Do you have a question? Ask it. Do you anticipate an issue? Resolve it. Do you have an idea? Share it. Do you need support? Request it. Engaging in communication first sends a signal to those that you work with that you are contributing and will help build trust. It will also help to ease any reservations that others might have about your arrangements.
- Plan financially for your flexible work. Depending on the circumstances of your flexible work, you may want to consult a financial advisor or seek the services of an accountant to make sure that you have a strong personal budget and/or are taking advantage of tax-savings opportunities. The financial impacts will differ between circumstances – a part time permanent worker is different from a self-employed consultant so advice cannot be one-size-fits-all.
- Communicate your plans with everyone who needs to know. Yes, this is a repeat of #2, but it is worth mentioning again. Communicate, communicate, communicate. You do not want to catch others by surprise or be a victim of their assumptions. Communicate.
At Work Evolution, we are connecting the best organizations with professionals seeking flexible employment.
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