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  • 1.  Remote Workers

    Posted 09-12-2017 05:37 PM

    Last week I became a remote worker for my firm as I made a move for my family. I have established an office in my house to remove myself from home-distractions as one part to help ensure success as a remote worker.

    Does anyone have any other recommendations or insights to help ensure one's success as a remote worker?


  • 2.  RE: Remote Workers

    Posted 09-13-2017 01:38 PM

    With few exceptions, keep everything related to work in that office -- not scattered around your home.

    This allows you to get away from -- come home from -- your office.

    One advantage of "getting away" one of more times each day is that it moves current challenges from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind. When you "come home" for part of the day or for the evening, your subconscious mind will work on challenges and surprise you with new insights and ideas.

    Stu Walesh Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, F.NSPE
    Consultant - Teacher - Author
    S.G. Walesh Consulting
    Englewood FL

  • 3.  RE: Remote Workers
    Best Answer

    Posted 09-13-2017 01:41 PM
    You are on the right track.  ​Some other suggestions:
    1. When you work from home, your family, neighbors and pets become your "co-workers" - explain to them that you are working remotely, not "home for the day".
    2. Make sure your home internet connection supports your office VPN, and understand how to troubleshoot connection and access problems.  Your VPN is your link to the office.
    3. If your company is on VOIP, get an office-grade headset (or better, Bluetooth headset).  Learn how to share your desktop.
    4. If your company uses video conferencing, make sure you have a decent webcam - the one on your laptop is OK, but learn how to stay in the frame.  Also be aware of what is behind you - make that part of your space look "professional" (there is a great YouTube video of a BBC correspondent trying to file a story from his home office while the kids wander into the room behind him).
    5. Get a laser printer - B&W units are now under $100, a full color laser printer/scanner will set you back as little as $200.
    6. Figure out how to silence your home phone (if you still have one).
    7. If you have a dog, talk to him/her - you're not home to open the door.  Schedule breaks when you will "come home" and let the dog out.

    C. J. Barnett P.E., M.ASCE
    WSP USA, Inc.
    Boston MA

  • 4.  RE: Remote Workers

    Posted 09-13-2017 06:03 PM
    Chris's list is relatively complete.  The home phone silencer is important.  I stopped answering after the first week.  During the daytime you just get offers for insurance, IRS audits, and vacation cruises.

    On the laser printer, this is a must.  I suggest you go the $500 dollar route, and get a 11x17 scanner, printer, copier.  They usually come with a fax, but I do not use that part.  It is my most used devise.  Reviewing plans at 11x17 is a lot easier than at 8.5x11.  Being able to scan them after comment is invaluable.

    Think about used systems.  You can get some very good equipment at about 1/3 the cost.  If the company is buying it, even better.

    Dwayne Culp, Ph.D., P.E., P.Eng, M.ASCE
    Culp Engineering, LLC
    Richmond TX

  • 5.  RE: Remote Workers

    Posted 09-14-2017 11:17 AM
    ​Thanks Dwayne!

    Kenneth Mika
    (414) 731-3111

  • 6.  RE: Remote Workers

    Posted 09-15-2017 02:47 PM
    I agree with one through six, but see no reason why a person teleworking can't take a minute to let the dog out. You can still work while the dog is out doing his business, so to speak. If you have another family member to attend to the dog's needs, great, but please don't torture the dog, if he or she needs out. Simply work an extra ten minutes or so, if necessary, to make up for the time. Your dog will thank you for it.

  • 7.  RE: Remote Workers

    Posted 09-15-2017 02:47 PM
    These are things that I have picked up over time.
    Make sure you set a fixed time to be at your desk in the morning.  It is crazy how starting to clean up a few dishes can then lead to an hour late before you start work.  Same goes for bedtime.  Stick to a schedule.  If you start getting up and going to bed at odd hours it can mess with your endocrine system.  This can lead to depression or worse.  People that do shift work do not live as long. 

    If you are tracing your time, get an old clock and plug it into its own power strip.  Set it to 12:00  and flip the switch on.  If your home life infringes on work time, switch the powerstrip off.  There will be days when you get a lot of interruptions and this will be your  way of tracking your time without going nuts.  Find out if your company wants you to take two fifteen min. breaks. For many jobs, this is the law.  Then when your clock reaches 7:30 or 8:00  whichever applies to you your done for the day. Assuming you have an 8 hr. a day job.  

    Eat also on a schedule and don't go into the kitchen unless it is a scheduled meal or snack time.  I gained 50 # eating an extra couple of pieces of fruit each day. Plan healthy meals and make more food at dinner so you can eat real food for lunch.   

    What type of arrangement do you have for printing?  Toner can become pricey if you have to cover this cost.  Before you buy a printer find out if you can refill the cartridges and how much it costs for different brands.  A family member got this great deal for a printer.  It was almost free.  The toner after three months cost more than a new printer. And of course, you could not refill the cartridges.   

    The fact that you are asking questions is a good indicator that this will work for you.  Best Wishes.

    Barbara Salvini P.E., M.ASCE
    Barbara A.B. Salvin
    Ramona CA

  • 8.  RE: Remote Workers

    Posted 09-18-2017 10:46 AM

    Hi Barbara,


    Thanks for the feedback!


    I am regimented person when it comes to schedules so that typically is not an issue for me.


    For printing, I have opted to not print anything currently. I have been operating over the years through electronic documentation and drawings. If I need to print anything for a project, it is most likely to send to a client or contractor, my company handles that through our administration department. If I need start printing items, then my company and I have agreed to revisit the subject.





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  • 9.  RE: Remote Workers

    Posted 09-19-2017 10:31 AM
    Dear Kenneth:

    If you do need to print things, try to find a service that delivers.  $50 for a delivery might seem like a lot, but if it takes you a couple of hours away from where you are working, you can quickly lose half a day to a full day of productivity.

    I have found a printing service that delivers for free to most of the people I need to send plots too (City, TxDOT, Harris County, and some of my clients.)  It makes first agency submittals much easier.

    Dwayne Culp, Ph.D., P.E., P.Eng, M.ASCE
    Culp Engineering, LLC
    Richmond TX