Monday, February 16, 2009

When Times Are Tough Be In Touch

It's no secret that the economy is ... um... how to say it delicately? It sucks. This is frankly the most frightened I've ever been about the future from a financial standpoint -- maybe it's because I have more to lose now, maybe it's because the reverberations from all the economic troubles are being felt absolutely everywhere, I don't know.

Plus I feel extra vulnerable because I'm physically far away from my employer. But what's a savvy telecommuter to do? Do you lay low and hope that nobody remembers you're out there working in your slippers?

I think that's a terrible idea. In fact, when things are sour or shaky at work, that's the time you need to be most in touch with people. There are a few reasons why this is so important.

First, you need to actively reinforce the perception that you are a team member just like everyone else. You're working the same hours as everyone, and volunteering for more because it's that much easier for you to "come into the office". You're fully engaged in what's going on with the projects and tasks at hand. You are there.

Second, you need to be able to get a read on the mood in the office, and the best way to do this is to talk to people. Lots of them, in different departments and at different levels in the organization. Talk to people to see how they're feeling, but for goodness sake, don't overtly pump them for information. Nobody likes feeling like you're just calling them to get the scuttlebutt.

Third, you don't want them to forget about you. Really.

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