The idea of working from home for many people is an exhilarating thought. Visions of being able to sleep later in the morning and not deal with rush hour are a couple of the first enticing thoughts that come to mind.
Believe it or not, working from home requires focus and dedication to your craft, whatever that is for you. While there are many perks to working from home, and I personally love it, there are several things to consider about your personality, work habits, need for social interaction and the nature of the work you perform to take into consideration when deciding whether telecommuting is a good option for you.
Let’s review the biggest potential areas of concern and help you assess whether working from home is right for you.
1) Do You Have a Dedicated Work Space?
Probably the single most important factor in the decision to work from home is whether or not you have a dedicated workspace. Ideally, you will have an office that is not a shared space. If your dedicated work space is the kitchen table, you will likely struggle with focus. Being forced to pack up your office every day when you stop working will get old by the end of the first day.
2) Ability to Work Independently
If you struggle to get out of bed in time to make it to the office now, just imagine how amplified that challenge will become if you don’t have to punch a time clock and impress your boss with your ability to tell time. If, on the other hand, you can easily stay on task and churn out a ton of work, you are a great candidate to work from home. You don’t need someone looking over your shoulder to make sure you are working. You get it: The work doesn’t magically complete itself! Congratulations! You are a self-starter and should be rewarded, as such!
3) Limit Seemingly Endless Distractions
I work from home and love it. I have tons of freedom to schedule my day as I see fit, but, and this is a big one, some days I struggle to buckle down and get to work. For example, when the weather is nice I sometimes have to resist the urge to take a nice long walk on a weekday morning. It seems so sinful! And then, other times, I give in to the urge and take that long walk, because, well, why not? What’s the point of working from home if I can’t live my life on my terms as long as I meet my obligations and get my work done? Conversely, I find a couple evenings a week I am clacking away on my keyboard late into the evening because that is when I am most productive. It works for me. However, if you struggle with wanting to watch TV half of the day and then knock off at five, you are on a slippery slope and may want to set a schedule for yourself and then honor that agreement with yourself.
Other perks of working from home include being able to get your laundry done during the day on occasion and starting dinner early, rather than saving these tasks for the evening – when you are exhausted from your commute and a harried day at the office. The ability to focus and pound out your work will help to ensure that you can continue to enjoy your new lifestyle. Keep in mind that a strong focus now, creates a different future later.
4) Will You Miss The Office Water Cooler?
Face it, some people thrive on their daily interactions with the co-workers. Others, not so much. If you look forward to catching up with your colleagues every morning to de-brief about the previous evening, you may not be a candidate for telecommuting. Many large corporations are shifting their workforce to telecommute positions because they have conducted studies and found that their employees are actually more productive when they work from home! Too much time visiting with your work neighbors really does impact production. Who knew?
Whatever route you pursue, there will always be some awesome advantages to one option that the other does not offer. If telecommuting is something you are seriously considering, you will want to look at your own temperament along with the big picture, and then you can make a decision to move forward with the workplace location option that works best for you.