The substantial shift to telecommuting may have started as a public health measure, but it’s continuing as a way of life for many workers who could remain out of the office for months ... if not longer.
A recent Pew Research survey of employed adults found 71% were working from home in October 2020, compared with 20% before the pandemic began. And more than half of those surveyed (54%) hope to work from home after the COVID-19 crisis. The move toward more remote work, which was in effect before the pandemic, shows no signs of reversing course.
If you’re seeking employment during the pandemic, chances are you’ll be looking at a position with some level of telework. And while not everything about remote employment works out as expected – you can choose your personal favorite remote call gone wrong from a long list – a positive approach can go a long way toward landing a remote position, regardless of whether it’ll remain one.
MOAA’s experts and guests from FlexJobs, a telework leader for more than a decade, will outline some best practices in a free April 13 webinar. Once you’ve registered, check out a few telecommuting tips below for those seeking, or adjusting to, new virtual employment.
- Don’t Panic. As with any professional shift, adjusting to remote work can take time. But according to the Pew Research study mentioned above, some of the more talked-about pain points haven’t been so painful – 87% of those surveyed said it was very or somewhat easy to secure and use the technology required for their home office, and 80% said it was very or somewhat easy to continue meeting deadlines and completing projects.
- Manage Expectations. While studies have shown productivity remains steady for many remote workers, that doesn’t mean inter-office relationships will continue as normal. Some managers may struggle without having “eyes on” their employees, while some employees may have trouble staying focused or motivated. Whether you’re in charge or working your way up the ranks, keep the lines of communication open with your co-workers to identify challenges, set goals, and avoid surprises.
- Embrace the Flexibility. Working remotely offers options that would’ve been impossible or cost-prohibitive just a few years ago. Are there multiple part-time positions or freelance positions that pique your interest? You won’t need to drive across town to switch offices or host clients. Are you concerned about setting the right work-life balance tone post-service? A home office will allow more time for family, hobbies, or other pursuits.
- Do Some Light Reading. Last year, as many workers found themselves in a home office for the first time, they were greeted by a flood of advice from all corners. While no set of best practices will suit every individual situation, consider some pieces by FlexJobs, the Mayo Clinic, the Federal Communications Commission (for your home network needs), and even the interns at NASA. Federal teleworkers, or aspiring federal teleworkers, can learn more about their specific needs at Telework.gov, which includes a “Telework Basics” section.
- Let MOAA Help. Beyond the upcoming webinar, our transition and career experts offer a range of resources that can be tailored to any telecommuting strategy. From career consultation to résumé help and much more, visit MOAA.org/careers for a list of options. And don’t forget to ace that virtual interview.
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