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Like any job environment, working from home requires a certain type of individual. There are skills and characteristics of the home employee that may or may not fit your style. So if you are considering working from home, you might want to ask yourself if it’s right for you. Here are some things to consider.
The Work Day
Do you value the time when the work day is over, and you can go home and do what you please? If this is a valuable aspect of your outside-the-home job, then think carefully if you want to work from home. Setting your own hours sounds wonderful, but it is not as easy as it sounds. One of the few downsides I can think of is the fact that I don’t go home from my home office!
If you are going to work from home, you’ll need a working knowledge of computers. You don’t have to be a software designer or anything, but knowledge of the basics is important. It’s also a good idea to have resources you can turn to, such as technically-savvy friends.
There’s no Nick Burns, Company Computer Guy to turn to in the home office, and computers require maintenance and updates. If you have trouble downloading software, or if your machine freezes up, you will need to have some knowledge at your disposal to fix the problem. Also, you are undoubtedly using an internet connection to work from home; find out if a back-up plan is feasible for you in case you can’t get online.
Some people are more task-oriented than others – that is, some people find great satisfaction in making a list and getting everything on it done. Others find staying on task difficult, and may get distracted easily with other interests and ideas. You don’t have to be naturally task-oriented to succeed at working from home; but you do need to be honest with yourself about your abilities in this regard and plan accordingly. There’s great apps out there to help track your time like Focus Booster and Time Doctor.
Remaining self-motivated can be challenging for some. Again, you can’t rewire your brain to be the personality type you need to succeed; but understanding your limitations and strengths regarding motivation can help you put safeguards in place before you begin. If you find yourself taking longer and longer lunch breaks, or dawdling a little too long over the morning paper, you may want to give yourself a reality check.
For example, if you recognize that you have trouble staying motivated, you can ask a friend to hold you accountable periodically. He or she can check up on you weekly with an email or phone call, asking you if you’re on task and if you’ve reached your goals. But ultimately, your end-of-the month paycheck will be the best indicator that are doing a little too much fartin around and not enough workin.
If you already have a day job, carefully consider the perks that job offers and decide what you will do about providing those yourself. Health insurance and taxes, for instance, are often things that an employer takes care of behind the scenes. You’ll want to look into those things on your own before starting out in the work-at-home world.