If you have a job you love, here are five simple tactics to avoiding a pink slip.
You may have ditched the daily commute and office politics, but working from home has its own challenges: communication can be tricky, your manager isn’t nearby to provide support and witness your productivity, and keeping up-to-date with company news can feel like an impossible feat.
What worse is all of these challenges can endanger your job if you don’t know how to manage them. Follow these tactics to remain gainfully employed:
1. Develop a Diverse Skill Set. With budget cuts, downsizing, and corporate takeovers polluting the economic landscape, no one is safe. Diversifying your skills set makes you more marketable. Whether you enroll in on-line classes, attend company sponsored seminars or find a mentor who is willing to impart her knowledge, expanding your skill set can help keep you employed.
2. Quantify Your Work. Whether it’s time for your annual review, there are rumors your position is going to be eliminated, or you simply have a boss who doesn’t recognize your value, quantifying your work can help save your job.
Quantifying your work means offering up measurable evidence of success. For example, you can share something like the following with your manager:
Over the last three quarters I have increased sales accounts more than 22 percent over the previous two years combined.
My new packaging design resulted in a 15 percent profit margin increase.
My FaceBook campaign increased our company followers from 650 to 1400 in just four days.
Tip: Make note of your successes as they happen. If and when you need to justify your job, you’ll be prepared to show your value.
3. Stay in the Loop. A significant challenge many telecommuters face is staying current on company news. Without water cooler chit-chat, lunchroom gossip, and mingling at the copier, it can be difficult for virtual workers to stay in the loop. Here are a few ideas to keep you in the loop.
• Identify two or three co-workers who you can count on to always be aware of the latest events. Ask them to shoot you an instant message when important events unfold.
• Periodically reach out to your boss and simply ask if there’s you should know about.
• Attend office parties, working lunches, award ceremonies and any other occasion to be social. Co-
workers are more likely to open up to you when they view you as “one of them.”
4. Communicate Clearly. Clear communication is important to success, and for a telecommuter it can mean the difference between getting a raise and getting the boot.
Telecommuters rely heavily on written communication. Unfortunately, emails and instant messages can easily be misinterpreted because the recipient can’t use body language or tone of voice to evaluate the intent of the message.
If you’re unclear about the intent of an email, pick up the phone and get clarification. When crafting a message of your own, don’t press the send button immediately. Step away from your message and look at it from the recipient’s point-of-view to ensure your words won’t be misunderstood. A misinterpreted email can spiral out of control in just a few clicks and jeopardize your employment.
5. Watch Your Ps and Qs. No matter how hard you work, you will likely have coworkers who think you’re sitting on the couch collecting a paycheck while they work their fingers to the bone. Whether it’s fair or not, colleagues and management may closely monitor your activity to ensure you’re working. Don’t give them any reason to question how you spend your time at home.
Start your day at the same time as your co-workers (or earlier), be on time for meetings, don’t abuse sick time and be helpful and pleasant toward those who are working in a traditional office.
What’s your best tip for keep your telecommuting job secure?
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