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For years, the idea of someone “working from home” – be it for an hour, a day, or longer-term – was a bit of a joke. It was perceived as someone saying they were going to keep working when in reality they probably just didn’t want to waste precious paid time off when they could technically be “on call” remotely.

But things have changed.

The idea of working remotely isn’t only a valid case in today’s workplace – it’s a significant way for people to be more satisfied with their job.

There are numbers that back all of this up.

Per this New York Times article and a Gallup survey of more than 15,000 adults, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely. The article states:

“Gallup consistently has found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the polling agency wrote in a report on those and other workplace findings. “Employees are pushing companies to break down the long-established structures and policies that traditionally have influenced their workdays.”

This Fast Company reports findings that go even further: A National Workplace Flexibility Study found 98% of managers who implement a flexible work schedule see no negative drawbacks

So while working remotely is more commonly acceptable, how do we ensure we are accountable for our “work from home” time? After all, perception is reality, and if we aren’t perceived as productive when working away from the office, then our careers could be in jeopardy.

The previously mentioned Fast Company article lays out some good ground rules for anyone and everyone who is out of the office and on-the-clock:

  1. Maintain a routine.
  2. Treat it like a “real” work day.
  3. Have a hard stop on the work day.
  4. Use your calendar as a to-do list.
  5. Keep the lines of communication open.
  6. Understand how screwed up you’ll be if you put things off.
  7. Flex those productivity muscles.

Now, of course the article goes in depth on each of these tips, and I highly encourage you to read it.

But the point here is clear – flexible work hours are not only tolerated, but encouraged in today’s workplace – as long as you do it the right way. It’s up to you to be accountable for how you do your job offsite.