Is Working From Home Right for You?

Work from anywhereWhen you move every few years, working from home seems like a great alternative to job-searching in
each new city. It offers the flexibility and freedom that many professionals crave. But are you the right person for the job?

That may seem like a silly question. If you want the job, you’ll do what it takes, right?

The truth is that working from home presents obstacles that you might not expect. There’s no supervisor to make sure you are on task. No one tells you what time to start your day. And the endless chores lurking around your home will call for your attention all day long. So what does it take to be successful when you work from home? Consider the following characteristics:

  • Are you organized? Many jobs that allow you to work from home are contracted or part time, so you may take on multiple contract positions to create a full time job. You’ll have all the autonomy you could want, but that also means that you are responsible for tracking each position’s demands and deadlines.
  • Can you tune your life out when you’re trying to work? If you think it is difficult to leave work stress at work, you probably can’t imagine the mess made when your work is AT home. You’ll need to be a pro at separating work from home life, whether that means having a designated work space, a ritual for decompressing at the end of each day, or the ability to focus on one area of your life at a time. When work and home happen in the same space, it is tempting to do home things when you should be working and work things when you should be living life. You’ll need to be prepared to create a balance and create it quickly.
  • Are you persistent? Finding a job is difficult. Finding a work-from-home job is even more challenging because they are relatively uncommon. It may take a year or more to build a full-time workflow when you are searching for positions that offer this amount of flexibility.
  • What are you in it for? Let’s be straight about this. Working from home often means that you’ll get paid less than if you were a full-time, salaried employee. In many positions, you can compensate for this deficit through sheer productivity, but if you’re in it for the money, get out now!
  • Remember what it was like the first time you went on vacation, but you were still getting paid? Forget about it. The vast majority of work-from-home jobs do not offer the perks of being an actual employee. The odds are, you’ll be responsible for healthcare, taxes, and the whole nine yards. Also, remember that it may sound wonderful to be able to work anywhere … but you’ll be able to work from ANYWHERE — even an island in the Bahamas if your hotel has Wi-Fi.
  • What experience do you have? There are numerous fields that accommodate working from home, but if your background doesn’t match any of those, there may be a very good reason. Some fields simply function best when everyone is present to collaborate and make things happen. If you find an opportunity to work from home in one of those fields, it may be a red flag.

You don’t have to have the right answer to all of the questions above for working from home to be right for you. However, be sure that you consider the realities of this type of work before jumping in headfirst.