Telecommuting Tips for Those Who Don’t Work at Yahoo

This week is National TeleWork Week (March 4-8). Coincidentally this week also falls on the heels of the Yahoo decision to stop all telecommuting – so for those of you that work at Yahoo we apologize in advance, and you can stop reading here :)

Work from home comic

Whether you think Yahoo made the wrong decision or it was all ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ it does help to raise awareness for the passion people have for telework — and we are no exception. With over 15 years as a virtual business we have deep experience on the topic. So without further ado — here are our team’s work from home tips for success.

Tips for staying productive when working from home:

  • Keep the “To Do” list handy. Knowing what you have to accomplish makes it easier to plan your day and there is a huge feeling of accomplishment when you cross things off the list.
  • Take advantage of the little perks you wouldn’t have in a traditional office and customize your environment however you are comfortable and productive; wear comfortable clothing, sit on a balance ball instead of a chair, play some motivational music – heck, light a candle. These are luxuries the office worker isn’t typically allowed, so go for it. Your work environment has a huge impact on productivity, so create a space that makes you feel good.
  • Take mini breaks. Get up and walk around to get the blood flowing; check the mailbox; throw in a load of laundry; take out the trash. Take advantage of your home setting and knock out a few quick chores throughout the day.
  • Have a daily routine. Have breakfast, followed by a big cup of coffee, work through the morning’s emails, plan out your day, schedule a walk at lunch and make sure you get out of the house.
  • Plot projects based on natural rhythm. For example, perhaps try to work on writing and pitching later in the day when you can focus and dig deeper without as many distractions.
  • Eat lunch. On busy days, it’s so easy to lose track of the time, but take a brain break and eat something healthy to give you that final push for the remainder of the day. When in doubt, chocolate helps then, too!
  • Give yourself a win. In PR, we’ve got a variety of projects and priorities and things are constantly changing, but start the day with a “win,” meaning tacking at least one smaller project to completion. There’s nothing as inspiring as crossing something off your to-do list early to get the day going on a positive note!
  • Get a sounding board. If you are an animal lover consider adopting a dog or cat. If not, you could always try a Talking Tom doll. Working from home can be isolating and everyone needs someone to talk to, even if they can’t talk back :).
  • Have a back-up plan. Just like an office that could lose Internet access, power, or be shut down for maintenance, know what your back up plan is and be able to get there fast. Working from home should be seamless even when inconveniences like power outages happen.

Still not sure you are ready to work from home? Here are some direct quotes from our team members to inspire you to explore the idea further:

“I absolutely love having the ability to work from home. There’s something so satisfying about being able to dig in and get work done more efficiently without the usual office distractions, and it’s given me a better quality of life overall.”

“At one point in my career, I was commuting three hours per day (round trip) – that’s 60 hours per month of “lost” time! So I’m not only appreciative to have that time back each week, but also grateful to be able to reinvest it in things that matter, whether it’s work, family, friends, hobbies or just recharging my battery.”

“I believe that happy, fulfilled people are more productive and creative in their work, and I’ve seen that firsthand at PerkettPR. Our colleagues are able to attend functions with their kids, run marathons, blog, cheer on their favorite sports teams, write books, win Maker Faire competitions, create art installations displayed in museums, and much, much more. It’s that kind of passion, perseverance and out-of-the box thinking that makes us more interesting as people, and is also allows us to offer a greater depth of imagination and resourcefulness in our daily work.”

“As a mom of three, working from home has allowed me stay in the workforce, contribute financially to my family, all while staying an active – and visible – participant in my children’s lives every single day. The idea of commuting to the city – two hours each way, not getting home until 7pm – I couldn’t imagine a bigger detractor to my productivity than taking away those hours with my kids.”

“I love working from home because with school-aged children, I feel better knowing that I am nearby and accessible if there is an emergency such as a call from the school nurse. I don’t have to worry about waiting for a train ride home or sitting in traffic. That is invaluable to me.”

“Life is way too short to spend a quarter of your waking hours sitting in traffic in a car. There is too much to do and too much to experience with all of those wasted hours. Successful people are successful no matter where they work: At airports, in an office , on the beach…working from home is no different. You just have to be diligent about eliminating distractions.”

We believe our team’s appreciation for a solid work/life balance has a direct impact on their contributions to our success. And as Jean Baptiste Su says in his above linked Forbes piece on the subject: Happy employees make great companies.

What are some of your work from home productivity tips?

Happy Earth Day! How PerkettPR Contributes to Improving Our Environment

PerkettPR is proud of our long-standing contribution to improving the environment. As a virtual company, we reduce our agency’s carbon footprint – less gas, less real estate, lower electric bills, less emissions, etc. In addition, we work diligently to create a positive work environment, including the opportunity for all employees to telecommute, offering successful careers balanced with happy home and personal lives. Being able to work a full day and still fit in time for dinner with the family, or an outdoor run before dark, provides PerkettPR employees with greater opportunity to fulfill both career and personal aspirations. We’re proud of our positive culture from both an eco-friendly standpoint and a happy, satisfied staff who share our passion for innovation in the workplace.

We thought it would be interesting to share some new statistics on telecommuting. Did you know that the estimated average commute for workers is 25.3 minutes? And, according to Telework Research, if the 41 million Americans with telework-compatible jobs worked from home just one day, U.S. savings would total $772 million including:

  • $494 million in commuter costs
  • $185 million from 2.3 million barrels of oil saved
  • $93 million from 775 fewer traffic accidents

And that’s not all. If everyone who could work at home did just one day, the environment would be spared 423,000 tons of greenhouse gas—the equivalent of taking 77,000 cars off the road for a year!

We created this Earth Day infographic to showcase our efforts in reducing our carbon footprint – and as an example of how just one small business can work to reduce environmental emissions by offering telecommuting options.

Please feel free to leave a comment about your business and how you also strive to help the environment. Happy Earth Day!

Persuasive Picks for the week of 11/02/09

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What Social Media Monitoring Won’t Get You
Monitoring your brand online and the plethora of tools available to select from are all the rage of late, while Facebook’s popularity as a place for brands to plant their flag has also exploded. This post from Jason Falls reminds us that access to the vital conversation behind Facebook’s “walled garden” are not accessible by social media monitoring tools.

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Want to become a better blogger? This post from James Chartrand on CopyBlogger provides some great advice on how to do just that, and it starts by stepping away from the keyboard.

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Last, but certainly not least is this guest post on WomenEntrepreneur by our very own Christine Perkett where she expands on how a virtual workplace can benefit your company.