Phoenix, Arizona (NAPSI) - Increasingly common in the corporate world, telecommuting allows employees to work from home while staying connected to their office through conference calls and videoconferencing.

According to the Huffington Post, “It is a trend that has grown, with 34 percent of connected workers saying they would be very likely to telecommute on a full-time basis if they could.”

With the growing popularity of programs such as Skype and GoToMeeting, the “old” downside of telecommuting, not being able to meet colleagues face to face, has virtually disappeared. Now, many telecommuters participate in multiple videoconferences per day, making it imperative to dress professionally and keep a clean and organized at-home workspace.

That being said, here are some tips to help telecommuters remain professional, productive and focused while working from home.

1. Claim a space. It’s important to designate a specific area in your home as your workspace. Separating yourself from distractions like a buzzing washing machine or a sink full of dirty dishes allows you to stay focused on work.

2. Create separate e-mail accounts. Having work and personal e-mails sent to different in-boxes makes it much easier to stay on task. Only log in to your work e-mail during your designated “working hours” and you won’t be distracted by the coupons, advertisements and updates from your friends that pile up in your personal in-box.

3. Stay connected. It’s important for telecommuters to be in contact with their office throughout the day, reassuring their employers that at-home workers are positive contributors, reliable and productive. Regularly check in with your boss to clarify instructions or report progress. At the office, it’s easy to drop by a co-worker’s desk and say happy birthday or ask for a second opinion on a project; when working from home, substitute these personal interactions with an e-mail or phone call.

4. Stay organized. A clean and organized workspace can help increase your productivity. Try using a system like ClosetMaid’s ShelfTrack® Elite Home Office Kit and Accessories. Complete with adjustable shelves, this flexible and affordable DIY office system can be configured for any space. Conceal desk and workspace clutter with fabric bins or trays.

5. In today’s global economy, many people don’t work a standard “9 to 5,” and telecommuters are even more tempted to keep untraditional hours as they juggle to balance work and home life. Although it may be necessary to have a flexible schedule, be careful not to be consumed by your job. Working through family dinners or putting in long weekend hours can be unhealthy and stressful. Commit to keeping a regular schedule, planning breaks throughout your day and leaving free time to spend with family or enjoy hobbies. To remain on track, try to keep your work week as close to 40 hours as possible.

Although telecommuting has some obvious advantages (e.g., a serious savings on gas), it’s important to remember that working from home requires discipline. Keeping regular hours, maintaining a clean and organized workspace, dressing professionally and limiting distractions allows telecommuters to be just as successful as their in-office counterparts.

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