Holiday Telecommuting: 10 Productivity Success Secrets

holiday telecommuting

If you’ll spend at least part of your holiday telecommuting, Virtual Vocations wants to help ensure you’ll be your most productive. 

For most American workers, the end-of-year holidays signal time off from their jobs to enjoy glad tidings of comfort and joy in the company of friends and family, or, at the very least, dress themselves and their favorite furry companions in matching holiday sweaters, but not all U.S. professionals are afforded the luxury of time off during the holidays.

Approximately one-third of U.S. professionals are likely to work during the holiday season, according to the 21st Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll—a survey of 1,000 American adults. What’s more, among the 33% of U.S. professionals likely to clock in during the holidays, 55% say it won’t be by their own choice.

Compare the 21st Heartland Monitor Poll data to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com‘s January 2016 statistics revealing 2.8% of the U.S. workforce (3.7 million employees) telecommutes a minimum of 50% of the time and the result is the potential for thousands of telecommuters to be left struggling to balance the work-life demands of holiday telecommuting.

Related: Telecommuting Work-Life Balance: 15 Problems and Solutions

10 Productivity Tips for Effective Holiday Telecommuting

Will you be one of those U.S. professionals engaged in holiday telecommuting this year? As you craft your plan for embarking on a successful holiday work season, incorporate our secrets for remaining productive.

1. Be flexible with your work hours

The beauty of holiday telecommuting is remote jobs are renowned for their scheduling flexibility. From jobs in account management and healthcare to education and project management, chances are you hold a telecommute job that will allow you to be flexible with your work hours and operate during times you’ll be most productive. Consider working an alternate shift enabling you to enjoy daytime or evening holiday activities, or work in blocks of time early in the morning or late at night.

holiday telecommuting

2. Rethink your holiday events schedule

Holiday telecommuting jobs in fields like customer service, sales, and technical support may require you to adhere to a set work schedule with little to no flexibility, especially given the increased demand placed upon these industries at the retail level. If you fall into this category of holiday telecommuter, think about rearranging your holiday events schedule, like celebrating Christmas a day early or a day late, to better accommodate your professional obligations while still allowing you to partake in seasonal events.

3. Know when to say “No”

The biggest productivity blunder you can make while holiday telecommuting is overcommitting. Be honest about your scheduling limitations, not taking on too much from either the Work or the Play column. It’s better under-promise and over-deliver.

4. Stay focused

One of the best productivity success secrets for holiday telecommuting is learning how to be present. Rather than checking emails on your mobile at a holiday party or proofreading your latest document while wrapping presents at your desk, work when it’s time to work so that you can play when it’s time to play.

5. Disconnect from social media

Being productive while holiday telecommuting means making a conscious effort to abstain from social media during work hours. Aside from existing as the King of all distractions, remaining engaged in your social media accounts while attempting to remain productive at work will only succeed in making you a glutton for punishment.

Why torture yourself with Instagram photos, tweets, snaps, and Facebook statuses from your work-free friends and family indulging in holiday food and parties? Wait to “Like” and retweet those moments when you can join in on the fun and take your own Snuggie selfie. Hold on…ignore that last part.

6. Use household chores as exercise

Believe it or not, exercise is a key success secret for maintaining productivity. Regular exercise improves brain performance, memory, and concentration, according to a 2013 study published by Harvard Men’s Health Watch looking to combat instances of forgetfulness and “brain fog.”

We suggest applying the adage “kill two birds with one stone” to your holiday telecommuting productivity practices and complete household chores for your daily exercise while you work from home during the holidays. It’s a productivity win-win since exercise will make you more efficient at work and completing your housework as exercise will save you the frustration of a last-minute attempt at cleaning your home prior to holiday guests arriving.

7. Preempt interruptions

Since telecommuters must navigate elements of their work and family lives under the same roof, and often simultaneously, it isn’t likely they’ll ever encounter an entirely distraction-free day of work. However, being successful at holiday telecommuting will necessitate mitigating as many interruptions as possible.

In addition to disconnecting from social media, we implore you to be transparent about your holiday work schedule. Talk to your friends and family about your work requirements and politely, but earnestly, ask them to not disturb you during work hours. This is of particular importance if you are hosting family members at your home during the holidays who are not familiar with your work style.

8. Do work that’s worthwhile

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. —Confucius

You don’t have to love every moment of holiday telecommuting, but remaining productive during the holidays will be less of a worry if you are passionate about your work. If the prospect of having to sacrifice days off fills you with a sense of dread beyond Office Space‘s infamous “Case of the Mondays,” it could be time to reevaluate your line of work.

Related: 7 Low-Stress Telecommute Jobs

holiday telecommuting

9. Don’t forget the essence of the season

If nothing else, the holidays are about celebration. And although you may not necessarily want to spend part of your holidays working, even if from home, failing to revel in the spirit of the holidays by succumbing to bitterness will only serve to diminish your productivity. Sometimes, it’s necessary to simply be grateful to have a job.

10. Give yourself a gift

Are you expecting a work bonus before the end of the year or overtime pay for your holiday telecommuting? Throw on a Santa hat and treat yourself to a gift for fulfilling your work obligations. Having a reward to look forward to at the end of your holiday telecommuting stint will inspire you to reach the finish line.

Holiday Telecommuting, Virtual Vocations Style

Since Virtual Vocations launched in February 2007, our 100% virtual team has broadened their collective telecommuting experience and honed strategies necessary to being successful within the remote work model.

Related: Telecommuting Traps: 20 Telework Trouble Spots and How to Avoid Them

In the spirit of the holiday season, the Virtual Vocations team wanted to gift dedicated professionals tasked with working remotely during the holidays with a sprinkling of their own ho-ho-holiday telecommuting success secrets for achieving maximum productivity:

With my children out of school for Christmas break, I can quickly lose focus and get off schedule when it comes to completing needed work. I find that to be successful in juggling time with them and getting tasks completed, I tend to get up earlier in the morning or stay up later after they have gone to bed. Either way, I usually only plan to work three to four days per week so I can enjoy their break with them.” —Laura Spawn, CEO

I like to plan to work in the evening to give me a defined time to get back home from family gatherings. Holiday parties are great, but my family’s gatherings are spread out over three to four days and they can last late into the evening. Working remotely is a great way to reclaim my sanity during the holiday season! —Brad Dilley, Quality Assurance Specialist

There will be more interruptions this time of year than any other, especially from delivery people dropping off those presents you bought for yourself… err, other people. Try to work earlier in the day or late at night, if you don’t want to be interrupted by ringing doorbells and pretty packages you need to wait to inspect because you have a deadline to meet. —Sarah Hill, Employer Relations Manager

Wake up a little earlier to complete one or two dreaded work tasks. By crossing a couple of your least favorite work duties off your To Do list first thing in the morning, you’ll start the day off with a feeling accomplishment and the task won’t overshadow the rest of the day, making it easier to relax and enjoy the season. —Shannon Cyr, Database Operations Manager

When it comes to work, I don’t treat the holiday period any differently than the rest of the year. Although I work from home, my job expectations are no different than those in a brick and mortar office. Work is still there in December and I’m still responsible for pulling my share of the load. I make up for that mentality by maximizing my off-time during the season and spending as much time with my friends and family as possible. Bring on the eggnog and fudge! —Deborah Edwards, Research and Approvals Supervisor

Hmm…Holiday Telecommuting, that Doesn’t Sound So Bad

What if you don’t yet have a telecommute job and you’ve read through this article thinking, “I’d love to be faced with the dilemma of being productive while holiday telecommuting, simply because it would mean I’d be working from home”? You wouldn’t be alone in your thinking.

An average of 85% of U.S. professionals desire to telecommute at least part-time, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com. But how does a telecommute job seeker start a safe, easy, and efficient telecommute job search? The journey begins and ends with Virtual Vocations.

Unlike other job aggregation services, we publish hundreds of new job vacancies every day, ensuring that each job posting will allow you to work from home a minimum of 20% of the time.

It’s our mission to ensure Virtual Vocations members receive fast access to the latest virtual job listings online.

We even provide Virtual Vocations members with customizable email alert options, which provides members with instant access to the newest available telecommute jobs curated based on their job preferences.

In addition to complete access to our Telecommute Jobs Database, Virtual Vocations subscribers receive a variety of exclusive telecommute job resources designed to give job seekers the best opportunity at success in their telecommute job searches. Here’s a sampling of some of the exclusive telecommute job resources we offer:

  • Telecommuting Handbook and Interview guide downloads
  • A Telecommute Toolkit featuring e-courses like Create a Winning Telecommute Resume and Telecommute Job Searching for Mid-Level and Professional Job Seekers
  • Action plans and downloadable resume templates
  • Access to Industry Guides to help you navigate your search for a telecommute job in popular categories like Education and Nursing
  • The Telecommute Companies Database filled with thousands of profiles of telecommute-friendly employers known for hiring qualified professionals to work remotely
  • A team of experienced customer service professionals ready to answer your questions about utilizing Virtual Vocations during your telecommute job search via phone at 1-800-379-5092, email at customerservice@virtualvocations.com, and Live Chat Support on our Homepage

Do you have experience in holiday telecommuting; what is your advice for remaining productive while working from home during the holidays? Share your experiences and tips when you connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you! 


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Learn how our service works, browse job leads by location and career category, or search hundreds of hand-screened telecommuting jobs to find legitimate work-at-home job leads that match your skills and background.

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About Kimberly Back 770 Articles
Kimberly Back is the Content Division Manager at Virtual Vocations. Prior to beginning work with Virtual Vocations in 2012, Kimberly was a subscriber and advocate of Virtual Vocations' services. She has exclusively worked from home since 2009.