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- Be educated – if you are uncomfortable or inexperienced with telecommuting arrangements, take the time you need to become informed. Don’t feel rushed to make a decision before you are ready.
- Give the request fair consideration – that’s all that you have to do. Ask questions, stretch beyond your comfort zone if you can, seek a win-win, look for creative solutions, but don’t feel pressured to accept an alternative that doesn’t support your departmental mission.
- Address concerns – whenever they arise, in the planning process or during the telecommuting arrangement, be sure to make any concerns known quickly, so that they don’t magnify and interfere with the telecommuting arrangement unnecessarily.
- Pick up the phone – don’t fall into the trap of using email for all of your communications. Beyond basic communication, calling the telecommuter allows you to assess his/her mood, including being able to identify any stressors that could impact his/her work performance and work satisfaction. Remember, you may be the only person he/she has had a chance to talk to that day. Help him/her feel connected to the outside world and to the department.
- Initiate communication – be proactive and reach out to the telecommuter rather than expecting him/her to initiate contact. Like direct phone calls, initiating contact on your timeline helps keep the telecommuter orientated to the workplace routine and deadlines.
- Encourage inclusion – is it time for birthday treats, or the office luncheon? Did a colleague just make a big announcement? Make sure to share the news with your telecommuter.
- Schedule face-to-face time – make sure you are meeting together on a regular basis. If you know the telecommuter is coming into the office, do what you can to set aside time on your calendar to meet - even if you don’t have a formal agenda. Ask the telecommuter to let you know in advance if he/she is going to stop into the office so you (and others) can be there to reconnect.