Monthly Archives: July 2016

5 Ways to Stay Organized This School Year As A Telecommuting Mother

I usually write about challenges while working remotely and share tips on remote work. Today I want to talk about the challenges of keeping the house organized with all the paper you get from school. I spend six hours cleaning just two rooms in the house, and it had a years’ worth of school paperwork—which amounted to ten bags of trash and a few dead trees. I know I could have been more organized and kept things in order during the school year but like most working mothers I was busy working, doing pick-up, drop off and after school activities, etc.

I spend six hours cleaning just two rooms in the house, and it had a years’ worth of school paperwork—which amounted to ten bags of trash and a few dead trees. I know I could have been more organized and kept things in order during the school year but like most working mothers I was busy working, doing pick-up, drop off and after school activities, etc.

Spending six hours for a whole year is not too bad but am I teaching the kids to stay more organized and keep the clutter under control? Maybe not. So here are a few things I am planning to do differently next school year:

  1. Clean monthly: I started with clean weekly, but it is not realistic for my family so decided on once a month. We have a set schedule when we do homework on the weekends and right after homework we will spend an hour getting things organized.
  2. Get the right organizing tools: I am planning on having a binder for each child with a separator for each subject. At the end of the month or week, they will place all the work into the binder. Keeping binders will help us keep track of what they need to study for the next test, and once the school year is complete, we could just take the binder and trash the papers instead of dealing with piles and piles of paper after the year ended.
  3. Scan and store: When I have downtime I will scan awards etc. and store them electronically—save space and the memories. For artwork, I like to keep the real thing, so I plan on getting a laminator and putting the work into a binder. There are some cool apps that will help with saving memories like Keepy.
  4. Schedule it: We will add this to our monthly chore list and keep track. Adding the task to our list will help the kids to stay organized and in control of all the paperwork.
  5. Opt out: I don’t think our schools have this option yet, but I would like to opt out of receiving all communication via paper and just use e-mail for all notifications. I will save a lot of time and the environment.

I will keep you posted on how we are doing. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way: info@telecommuterstalk.com

 

7 Guidelines for Global Project Management

In our global business environment, we work with people from different backgrounds. To be an effective team, we need to focus on proactive project management.

Here are a few tips I have learned during my career as a global project manager:

  1. Relationships:Relationships always matter, but it is more involved with a global team. When you start a global project or if you join the project mid-way, make sure to take the time to build relationships first. Engage the group and have a few minutes of general conversations before you jump into the project details. Take the time to learn about the people and cultures as you build those relationships.
  2. Goals:Once you have the initial connections, start working on and sharing goals for the project and its strategic importance, verbalizing the information and ensuring that you also create visuals with the same information. You will have both visual and auditory individuals on your team. Sharing the information via multiple channels will guarantee that you are communicating the goal clearly.
  3. Roles and Responsibilities:Create a document outlining what the key roles are, either via a RACI chart of a visual using MS PowerPoint. The main purpose is to confirm that the whole team understands what their role is on the team and how they are going to contribute.
  4. Timelines:I use MS Project to include all the key tasks in a document. You can also use Excel if that works better for you. Keeping track of who needs to do what and by when will keep the project in order and clarify the responsibilities for the team.
  5. Time Zones:Be proactive about the various time zones you’re working with and find a balance when you are trying to set up meetings. Make sure that early morning or late night calls are spread out among the various time zones.
  6. Respect:Global projects are usually longer, more complex, and come with added pressure. Despite these challenges, make sure to keep respect. Timelines can move and project scope can change, but once you lose respect, you cannot get it back.
  7. Celebrate:When you reach major milestones on the project, celebrate them in ways that the whole global and virtual team can enjoy.

Project management is about people helping you meet the goals. Invest in the relationships, and the team will achieve its goals.

What has worked for you as a project manager? Please share by emailing info@telecommuterstalk.com.

Tips to Manage Technology as a Telecommuter

If you work remotely for a corporation, you will be required to get a new computer and a phone every few years. Organizations have guidelines in place for when and how you need to get a new device, what to do with your old device, etc.

There is always a transition when you change devices. So, here are some suggestions that may help you manage the transition:

  1. Put it on your calendar:Your organization will have policies about when you need to get a new laptop—it may be when the warranty expires, or every two or three years. Find out what the policy is, and add events on your calendar accordingly. Also, add a reminder for two months before the due date.
  2. Keep track:I mentioned setting up a reminder two months prior so that you can start creating a list of all the additional software you have on your laptop or take a screenshot. When you purchase new software, keep a copy of the proof of purchase. Having documentation will help you to transfer the software to your new device.
  3. Back up:If you work remotely, it is always a good idea to back up your files on a regular basis, but if you know you have to change devices, this is necessary. Make sure you not only back up your data files, but also your e-mails, calendar, contacts, and favorites. Most companies have a way to transfer your data to a new device, but having your own back-up gives you an added security blanket.
  4. Clean up:If security is important to your organization, they will have a process to ensure that there is no corporate data left on your old device, but you can do some due diligence on your end, too. Check for information that may be in your download folder and scanned document folder, and delete any relevant files. Clean your browser history and any other confidential information.
  5. Plan around the transition:If you have the option to choose when you need to change devices, do it when you have downtime at work or are on vacation. If you need to ship your old device to the HQ and get the new one after the transfer, account for 3-4 business days. I have shipped my laptop while on vacation, and when I got back I had my new laptop with the software I needed already loaded on the device—it was perfect! This time, I spoke to tech support and provided them with the list of software.
  6. Inform:If you are not going to have your laptop for a few days, you will need to work off of your cell phone. E-mail yourself some of the documents you will need for the next five business days, or save them on the cloud. Inform your team that you are changing devices so they can respond accordingly.
  7. Check and add:Once you get your new laptop, confirm that all the software you need on the new computer. Add your printer driver, scanner, and Wi-Fi connection settings. Customize the laptop so that you can work effectively.
  8. Passwords:With the ease of saving your password in Chrome comes the challenge of not remembering them when you get a new device! One way to address this is to create an Excel sheet with all the websites and passwords, so that when you get the new devices, you won’t have to reset all your passwords.

Ask for help: If you have a tech support team, reach out to them with questions. They do this on a daily basis and will be able to provide you with good suggestions.