115 Chapters
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72. Negotiate Deadlines and Details

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148

101 Tips for Telecommuters

✔ Review your supplier criteria and service specifications for a critical service you’re currently outsourcing.

✔ If all aspects of the relationships and the delivered results are satisfactory, ensure that you’re applying the same level of specificity in expectations to other outsourced projects.

✔ If not, clarify your criteria and expectations, prepare written specifications, and schedule a meeting with the supplier to establish expectations, requirements, and consequences.

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Negotiate Deadlines and Details

Depending upon the nature and volume of your subcontracted work, you may have a wide range of details involved and more than one deadline to manage. Since telecommuters function somewhat like entrepreneurs in terms of independence from many corporate support services, you may secure contracted services in areas such as photocopying, administrative support, telemarketing, printing, or technical services. Negotiating the terms for these services is an additional responsibility you may have as a telecommuter that your central office colleagues don’t need to handle for themselves.

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54. Network to Stay Visible and Informed

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111

Working Well With Your Team

☛ Identify any sources of existing or potential resentment among your colleagues and team members.

☛ Think about anything you’re doing (or not doing) that might be contributing to their feelings.

☛ Focus on a critical relationship where resentment is a problem and schedule time to talk with that co-worker during your next opportunity to meet face-to-face.

☛ Discuss reasons for the co-worker’s feelings, steps you both can take to improve any problems with work flow or load, and any other actions you can take to minimize the resentment.

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Network to Stay

Visible and Informed

Networking usually is positioned as a critical activity for entrepreneurs and home-based business owners. While it’s also seen as an important skill for anyone in business, networking cannot be overrated for telecommuters (unless, of course, it’s done at the expense of achieving your goals). To the extent that you should manage your career almost as though it were an entrepreneurial venture

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75. Know When to Outsource

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154

75

101 Tips for Telecommuters

Know When to

Outsource

Expecting to do everything yourself when you telecommute is unrealistic. Trying to do everything yourself is undermining—to your success, your sanity, and your productivity. Let’s face it, you’re:

• Good at some things, lousy at others.

• Enjoy some things, hate others.

• Only one person (with only two hands, 24 hours in a day, and limits to your personal energy).

Besides the fundamental reality of your preferences and limits, there are some tasks you certainly can do but shouldn’t do since your time is better invested in more productive, focused, revenue-generating or goaloriented work. So, when determining what to outsource, ask yourself:

• Are you capable of doing this? Does it capitalize on your expertise, play to your strengths, and minimize your weaknesses? For example, if you’re employed as a software engineer and need to upgrade some software on your computer, you’re probably the best person for the job. On the other hand, if you’re a marketing writer and need to install the same upgrade, it might be the right time to call your computer consultant.

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39. Meeting the Challenge of Eldercare or Family Care

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81

Working Well with Your Family

� Make a list of five things you can do to let your children know that they are your #1 priority. Plan to do at least one of them today and add the others to your schedule for the near future.

� Ask your child to tell you two reasons why it’s good that you work from home.

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Meeting the Challenge of

Eldercare or Family Care

When unique or urgent family situations confront you, it’s important to remember that while your job may provide extraordinary flexibility, it’s still a job and you still have important work to do. The pressures of a demanding family situation may make it difficult to maintain the appropriate separation and focus you need.

Additionally, you may face pressure and expectations from other family members who work in more traditional environments and who may have misperceptions about the degree of flexibility your work affords you. And while you may have done an admirable job of setting boundaries and ensuring that your work is respected (Tip

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60. “Distance Delegation” that Delivers Results

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122

101 Tips for Telecommuters

Like those who work in traditional settings, you will sometimes have schedule conflicts or other reasons why you can’t talk or meet with people when necessary. In these cases, you need to balance priorities, make choices, communicate reasons, and explore alternatives and compromises. Bear in mind, however, that unlike your nontelecommuting counterparts, there may be slightly less tolerance for your lack of availability (particularly if it’s perceived that you are somewhat consistently unavailable). Your commitments, limitations, and choices might be perfectly rational, but any residual resentment others feel about your ability to telecommute (Tip 53) may affect how they react when you’re not available to them. My advice:

Exercise caution in choosing to not talk or meet live, since the need for your presence (voice or physical) may very well exceed your need for efficiency. At the same time, think through your decision criteria in advance so you don’t lose many of the benefits of telecommuting by constantly being pulled into live interactions and meetings better handled through technology.

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