Teleworking 9 to 5: Tips for working from home

By Cameron Kober | March 18, 2020

As agencies continue to ask employees to telework in response to COVID-19, you might find yourself in unfamiliar territory—your own home.

Regular teleworking is not the norm for many federal employees, therefore, these next few weeks may require you to work in new and unexpected ways. The following suggestions can help leaders and employees be as effective as possible.

Teleworking Tip #1: Be Focused

First, the American public relies on the important work you do now more than ever, so remember how important your role is in impacting your agency’s mission, and rededicate yourself to that purpose.

This is a confusing time, and people will look to leadership to answer their questions and address their concerns. Government can and will be that guide, but only as long as you remain dedicated to your responsibilities. Embrace your commitment to your agency’s mission and use it to discover innovative solutions for carrying out essential services.

Teleworking Tip #2: Be Intentional

Second, as the next few weeks may bring new and uncomfortable times, setting up regular patterns can help you stay effective.

Maintaining a normal sleep pattern and getting consistent exercise can go a long way. While everyone has their individual preferences, choosing to work from a desk or table instead of the couch can help you stay focused and alert.

Additionally, using your webcam during meetings has a big impact on communicating effectively because observing body language can help foster greater empathy and context. Just remember to change out of your pajamas first.

Teleworking Tip #3: Be Collaborative

Third, teleworking can be lonely, so being thoughtful about how you interact with your colleagues is essential for team morale and effectiveness. Consider making time for “virtual coffees” using video chat. This can help you build teams and maintain relationships while you’re working remotely.

Most importantly, remember the whole person. Your colleagues and employees have a variety of concerns like taking care of parents or children and personal anxieties. Now, more than ever, we should be thoughtful about the needs of those we work with and provide accommodations where possible.

Although you’re working remotely, you’re still a member of a team. Developing and strengthening your teams and its members will ensure your agency’s success in the weeks and months to come. For more information, training, and tips on teleworking as a federal employee, visit the Office of Personnel Management Teleworking website.

Check out more blog posts on working remotely below:


Cameron Kober