Working from Home
When you’re stuck in the throes of commuting and cubicle life, working from home can seem like the light at the end of the tunnel. And for the most part, it is. But there are aspects of telecommuting that can be taxing, particularly if you’ve never done it before. Here are just some of the best and worst parts of working from home—and how to handle them.
The benefits of working from home:
Your schedule is your own.
Doctor’s appointments. Your child’s writing celebration. Gym time. There are so many demands on your day that it’s hard to fit them all in, especially when you work in an office. Having a flexible schedule means you can adjust your schedule to meet the challenges of your day—and still get all of your work done. It might mean starting your work day earlier or finishing up later, but having complete control over your schedule is truly the ultimate in work-life balance.
When you worked in an office, you had a steady stream of chatty colleagues stopping by your ‘cube to talk…and talk…and talk. Phones were ringing and machines were beeping. Sitting in your home office, though, you can savor the silence—and zero interruptions. Being able to work in a more focused manner without incessant interruptions is definitely a bonus of working remotely.
Studies have shown time and time again that remote workers are far more productive than their in-office peers. Why? Without having a lengthy commute, a micromanaging boss breathing down your neck, and typical office interruptions, telecommuters can experience greater productivity without anything to interrupt their workflow.
The downside of working from home:
It can be lonely.
When you first started to work from home, you couldn’t believe how absolutely quiet it was. You could hear the slight hum of your computer being on. In fact, you could hear yourself think! At first, that was a huge benefit. But after awhile, working from home can get a bit lonely, even for those former office workers who were once desperate to ditch their office mates. One way to combat this is to stay in touch socially with your virtual colleagues, either by instant message, email, phone, or even sites like Yammer or Sococo, which can give you the virtual feeling of working together as a team. Another option is to take your office on the road with you, working at a local Starbucks, the park, or even a co-working space where you’ll be around people but still be able to get your work done, too.
You have to be very disciplined.
Sure, you have a project due by the end of the day…but there’s a Walking Dead marathon on that you want to watch. While there are a lot of distractions when you work in an office, there might be even more when you work from home (your comfy bed, anyone?). So it’s important to treat working from home as if you were working in an actual office. Set up your home office away from other distractions, such as the TV or the kitchen. Even though you have flexibility as to when and how you work, you still need to take your remote job seriously and treat it as such.
You must be able to problem-solve.
You can’t connect to your company’s video conference. Your landline connection is spotty. A myriad of tech issues can happen when you’re a telecommuter. Whereas you could always reach out to the IT department when your computer glitched on you, now that you’re working from home, you are the IT department. Being a telecommuter means that you’ll need to be able to problem-solve fast—and also on your own.
But fixing issues isn’t always just of the tech kind; you might get what reads like a testy email from a coworker. Or you might get a confusing IM from your boss. Instead of letting issues slide (and then having to deal with the emotional aftermath later), it’s up to you to exhibit your superior communication skills to handle anything that comes your way. That way, you can clear the air and continue working peacefully (and productively) from home.
Just like anything else, working from home has its pluses and minuses. But if you go into it knowing what to expect—and knowing some traits about yourself, too—you’ll be able to thrive as a remote worker and find the Holy Grail that is the work-life balance.
This post was written by Jennifer Parris, career writer at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. FlexJobs lists thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home jobs and other types of flexibility like part-time positions, freelancing, and flexible schedules. Jennifer provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.com.
Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons above.
Do You Need Help With ...