Telecommuting best practices

Employees who telecommute often learn that working remotely is different than they expected and that it requires specific skills and habits. The following tips will help you get to work while at home.

Define your workspace
We are creatures of habit and most of us are used to our normal home routines. Establishing a workspace, even if it is your kitchen table, gives your brain a cue that it is time for work. Wearing attire that you may wear to the office even if it is your “casual Friday” attire may cue the brain. You should remain capable of reporting to work if your presence is requested by your supervisor.

Master the basics

  •  Kent State employees can use Cisco Jabber to answer calls that come into their office line on your computer. Visit for more information or reach out to your local I.T. Support for details on Jabber and other tools to support telecommuting work.
  • Know how to login to the Kent State network and other online tools you use regularly. Use your VPN accordingly.
  • Use Microsoft Teams or another instant messaging client to stay connected to colleagues. 
  • Plan for video calls/meetings by making sure you know how to turn on your computer’s camera and microphone and being aware that your colleagues may be able to see the background behind you.

Set daily goals, track them and share your progress
Start each day of telework by writing down what you need to achieve and then track your progress. Pay attention to how long tasks take you and start adjusting your daily goals to match your current rhythm. Communicate with your supervisor and/or colleagues if you think your telecommuting plan needs to be adjusted.

Eliminate distractions
Home can mean pets, children or a favorite hobby are only a few feet away. Depending on your living arrangement, you may need to hang a “do not disturb” sign so your family members don’t interrupt you. Pets often need a closed door to keep them away and you might need headphones to block the noise.

Prioritize privacy
Whether you are in your home or a common area, take five minutes to assess the privacy of your workspace. Can someone standing behind you read your computer screen? Are your windows open so your neighbor can hear your phone call? What information do you need to secure before grabbing a cup of coffee or heading to the restroom? Your personal privacy matters too, so see if there is anything around you that you would not want visible during a video conference with your supervisor or colleague.

Continue to employ security best practices
Remain vigilant for security concerns and be sure to report suspicious emails to report to

  •  It should be noted that caution needs to be taken when dealing with personal health information (“PHI”) and HIPAA matters while working from home. 
  •  VPNs can also allow you to safely connect to a remote network of computers as if you are there. If you are dealing with sensitive information and want to explore VPN, you can learn more at 
  • The staff member has responsibility for maintaining the security and confidentiality of university files, data and other information that are in the off-site work place in accordance with Chapter 9 of the Policy Register – Information Technology and Security. 
  • If you have a security incident, reach out to

Stay connected

Colleagues that work from home are not vacationing. You should feel confident about calling or messaging an employee who is telecommuting anytime you would walk to their office or call them if you were working on-site.

Note:  Being paid while telecommuting assumes that you are engaged in work and available for assignments. If, during a period of such remote work you take a day – or even several hours – off for personal reasons (e.g. a doctor’s visit) this time must be accounted for as sick or vacation time. This would be the same as if you were working on campus.