Telecommuting to work does not mean that you will not be required to undergo a performance appraisal. These days, more and more companies are hiring employees to telecommute to work, or offering current employees the option to turn their position into a telecommuting one. Still, though, these same companies are requiring performance reviews and employee appraisals as a means to cut costs and maintain quality employees. There are several things you can do to prevent the fact that you are telecommuting to work from negatively affecting your performance appraisal.
Review Telecommuting Policies
Each company that hires workers to telecommute has most likely created a telecommuting policy to govern such employees. If you did not receive a copy of these rules prior to starting your job, ask for them as soon as you are told of your performance appraisal. Thoroughly review these rules and incorporate them into your performance if necessary. It is also wise to note those rules you currently adhere to so that should any question about your adherence to certain rules arise during your performance review you will know which ones to dispute.
If the company does not have a specific telecommuting policy, inquire as to whether there is an employee handbook and whether it applies to telecommuting workers. Even if it doesn't, ask for a copy to make sure you are or do not violate any company policies.
Keep Thorough Records
Telecommuting to work means that there is nobody looking over your should to make sure you are productive and doing your job. As such, it falls to you to show that your behavior and performance are appropriate. The best way to do this is to keep records of all phone calls or conferences made for work. In a separate notebook, make note of the beginning and ending of any work calls, who you called and a short description of your conversation. Additionally, keep a copy of every work-related email and other documents produced or sent for business purposes.
Watch Your Time
It is also wise to keep a log of your work hours. Just because you are not in an office does not mean that you are able to dedicate less time to your position. You should also keep records of any vacation days, extended lunches or other things that you were knowingly not working. Keeping track of the hours you work will enable you to prove your attendance should anyone dispute your presence or availability during work hours. It is also an extremely good idea for you to keep track of those times when you were not available for a short period of time and did not immediately respond to a telephone call or email.
Keep in Touch
As a telecommuting employee, it is imperative that you have regular contact with your boss or home office. Because you are not in the same building as the other employees, you may not be informed of important changes in policy or other business happenings which are important for your position. The best way to do this is to check in once a week with your local human resources office or your boss. Send an email re-cap of your week to your boss or place a regularly scheduled call to speak with him about your week. This will enable you to gather any information you need or want.
Telecommuting is the future for most companies, but that does not mean they expect less from their employees. Consider it part of your job to maintain records to use during your employee appraisal and you will not be worried when it becomes time for your review.