In March -- when we found out that my husband's job as a law clerk would land us in Honolulu, Hawaii for the summer of 2010 -- I was unsure of where this opportunity would lead with my current job in public relations. So, I was pleasantly surprised when my co-workers didn't flinch once at my request to work remotely. I thought, “What could be better? Telecommuting with the blessing of all my teammates and remaining in the loop with my company, all while living in paradise for three months.”
Now, it sounds all peachy-keen, but this was no easy task at first.
After arriving in Hawaii in late May, my first challenge was the massive time zone difference. People, we are talkin' a difference of six hours; this was not easy! When I was waking up, my co-workers in Boston were finishing lunch. Second challenge: communication. Before I left, I was convinced that this wouldn't be a problem. But without the daily face-to-face interaction with my colleagues, I felt a little out of the loop.
After a few weeks, I overcame this challenge with a few simple tips. I also used this great article as a reference to help me adjust to working remotely.
- Open up all channels of communication: e-mail, Skype, phone or whatever else you need. Thoroughly communicate your schedule via these channels on an ongoing basis.
- Read ALL e-mails thoroughly, respond promptly when needed and file correctly so you have easy access to all information. When you are working remotely and you miss an important note via e-mail, you may cause a delay with your team. Read, read, read!
- If you have a question or don't understand a task, first read through past e-mails and information to figure it out. You may have missed something when you were scanning messages. If you are still having problems, do a quick video or IM chat via Skype or AOL IM, and/or call your teammates. This saves everyone time, and time is money, my friends.
- Write everything and anything in your handy PR notebook. Writing items down and checking them off not only helps you stay on task, but it feels great when you finish everything for the day. However, remember to always double check yourself and your notebook. Did you miss something? This is easy to do when you are working alone.
I would also like to point out that working remotely from Hawaii, not in the typical 9 to 5 manner, has some great perks...Check out more photos from Hawaii here on our Flickr feed to see some beautiful views.