Monthly Archives: September 2016

How to Stay Involved in Corporate Charity Events As A Telecommuter

In the United States, we often have corporate-wide charity events in the fall and winter. Most large corporations have fundraising initiatives within their organizations, including mine. When I worked in the office, I was very involved in leading this initiative, raising awareness and getting competitive to see which group could raise the most funds. It was a great way to meet new people, do something different than day-to-day action items, and give back to the community.

But when I started working from home, I deleted the e-mail notifications about fundraising, and I moved on to the next thing on my to-do list. I’ve started missing the involvement and benefits of volunteering.

So, this year, I started thinking about how telecommuters can stay more involved. Here are some suggestions:

Localize: Find local organizations affiliated with the charity that your organization supports. Look online or ask your representative to help you. You can break up your day with just one or two hours per week of volunteering. If you do this for a few weeks, you will contribute a significant amount of time to the community. For example, consider volunteering at local schools, food banks, libraries, etc.

Communicate: If your corporation has a local office in your city or state, stay in touch with local team members and ensure that you are on their distribution list for major events like charity, holiday parties, etc. Staying engaged with the local office is another way to connect with people. Share your experience with your teammates at the headquarters (HQ) when they talk about an event they attended. Sharing is contributing.

Go Online: Some organizations have online auctions, where team members bring in items to auction for others to bid on. In my group, this gets quite competitive! You are not physically there, but you can stay involved by bidding online and shipping your donation items to the HQ or taking them with you next time you are visiting the HQ.

Contribute: You can make pledges online, donate with a paycheck deduction, or in any way you choose to help. Online donations still contribute to the community. If team leads are collecting money for other local events, you can use PayPal or other means to send your contribution.

Combine: If your organization is having a charity event, plan your business trip around the event. Combining the activities will give you a chance to feel like you are part of the community, and give you the physical experience of being involved and connecting with your team.

I sincerely hope these tips help you stay connected and involved with your team members during the upcoming charity and holiday seasons. If you have other ideas, please let me know:

5 Tips for Effective Meetings with Telecommuters

From my perspective, open lines of communication are essential for remote employees to be productive. If we don’t utilize this basic channel optimally, we will have a dysfunctional team.

Here are some tips for our HQ colleagues to help us stay involved and productive:

1. Set up a conference call: This is a no-brainer, yet in the past month this has been an issue for me at least five times. I’ve had to be proactive and set up the conference call myself or remind the organizer a few times. As a telecommuter, ensure that a conference call has been set up before accepting a meeting invite.

2. Add Web meeting: If the meeting organizer needs to share documents, it would be great to see the presenter’s screen or get the presentation before the meeting so that remote employees can be involved in the conversation and provide input. If there are videos for the meeting, it’s better to share links, since the audio is usually delayed.

3. Lunch meetings: If you do need to set up a lunch meeting, start the conference call 20 minutes after the meeting time. This way, the team gets to eat their lunch and remote employees don’t hear mumbling or conversations with mouths full. This way, the meeting will make the most of everyone’s time.

4. Time Zones: Take into account not only your home office hours, but also the remote employees’ schedule for a regularly scheduled meeting. Utilize sites like

5. Agenda: This is Meeting 101, but teammates can forget to send an agenda when in a rush. Having an agenda helps us prepare for the meeting and ensure we are adding value to the discussion.

In this global business environment, we need to be aware and proactive in managing meetings efficiently. Please share suggestions you have on improving communication: