Telecommuting seems like the ideal work situation. You can earn an income from the comfort of your home, while avoiding commutes and office politics. Nevertheless, telecommuting is not without its challenges. Before accepting a work-at-home position, here are some things you should consider.
1. Do you have the discipline?
The first week I worked from home full time, I didn’t do any work. I watched TV, did laundry and played with the kids. Working at home offers flexibility, but if you’re not careful, you’ll whittle away the hours and have nothing to show for it. Successful telecommuters have the discipline to get their behinds in their desk chair and work. A daily schedule and routine helps in forcing yourself to get to work.
2. Are potential interruptions managed?
Children, pets, neighbors who need you to let the cable guy in, and many other interruptions can get in the way of work. Anticipating and managing potential problems can help. Do you have child care? Did you create a set schedule for work and let everyone know not to interrupt you during those times? Have you added browser apps that prevent you from surfing the net and wasting time?
3. Do you have a workspace?
While many people started their work-at-home journeys on a kitchen table, it’s not the ideal location. Work is best done in a quiet, designated area. The ideal place is a room with a door that you can use to shut out the world when you’re working and shut out work when you’re not. But if you can’t designate a room, you should have an area that is exclusive for work and is away from household distractions.
4. Do you have the tools and equipment to do the job?
Not all employers supply everything you need. Many expect you to have a computer and other tools needed to do the job. Your work items should be in your workspace where you can get to and use them easily. At the very least you need a computer that has the speed and oomph to do the work you need to do, high speed Internet access and top-notch anti-virus protection.
5. Are you prepared to be alone?
One of the biggest challenges to working from home is the isolation. You can’t peek over your cubicle divider to check in with your neighbor or eat lunch with colleagues in the lunch room. Social media can help, as long as you don’t waste time. Or you can work at the local library or java joint. Finally, if possible, consider going into the office occasionally just to check in and connect with your colleagues.
Telecommuting can increase your productivity while reducing the amount of time you commute. But it has its own challenges that can get in the way of success. Before accepting a telecommuting position, make sure you’re prepared mentally and physically to work from home.