Master The Art Of Web Commuting

Master The Art Of Web Commuting

If you’re lucky enough that—even occasionally—you can telecommute to your job (though web commute seems more accurate these days), you’ve no doubt learned that working away from the office comes with its own set of problems—and solutions.

Photo by Ed Yourdon.

Over at her Harvard Business blog, our very own Gina Trapani details how she’s mastered the art of working remotely over the years. Gina highlights four best practices for remotely working over the internet, from sharpening your email skills to making up for the lost time around the water cooler.

Set up regular voice or video chat check-ins. As online workers, it’s easy to start relying entirely on textual communication mediums like email or IM instead of the phone. But it’s easy to forget how people on-site bond with small talk over the water cooler, or during cigarette or lunch breaks. Not only can a regular 10-minute phone or Skype call save you time by preempting long email threads, it can also help you touch base in a human way. The sound of your remote manager or freelancer’s voice saying “How was your weekend?” or “Welcome back from your vacation” can go a long way to building an effective working relationship.

If you’re already an expert of the telecommute/web commute, let’s hear what best practices you’ve developed for staying productive outside the office (whether it’s from home or the cafe) in the comments.

Master the Art of Working Remotely [Harvard Business]


  • Resist the temptation to work out of ordinary hours, or communicate this change of schedule to colleagues and superiors that need to know.

    If you start too early, you run the risk of having to work later because your colleagues (and bosses) won’t recognise that. They’ll be in full swing by mid-afternoon – and you’ll be winding down for the day… just when that important task comes through over email.

    If you start too much later than everyone on-site, if anything goes pear-shaped you have less time to fix it (or get others to fix the problem from their end), and your bosses will probably want that report by THEIR end of the day – not your 11pm deadline after “Dancing With The Stars”.

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