Some people forget that not everyone who works from home is an entrepreneur. Along with those of us who work for ourselves, corporate sales reps and other corporate employees work from home full-time, too.
Another group of people who work from home are telecommuters, those who work from home a few days a week instead of working in a corporate office every day. Whether you used to work from home and then had to go back to the corporate world, or you want a more flexible schedule, or you want to avoid a daily commute, telecommuting may be the perfect solution for you. Before you approach your boss about telecommuting, ask yourself a few questions.
Are you computer literate?
Telecommuters can work anywhere, and at all hours, simply by having the right equipment. When you telecommute you’ll need the basics: a computer, an All-in-One machine, and a separate business line (or you can use your cell phone) with voice mail. While you may not have an in-house IT department to deal with any computer problems, you can hire a tech support company to help you.
Do you have room to work?
No matter what size your home may be, there’s always room for a home office. Think outside of the home office box and use a spare bedroom, guest room, dining room, or any other space where you know you’ll be able to work. Whether you use a laptop or a desktop computer, keep in mind that you won’t need much space to work.
Do you have a childcare plan?
Working from home isn’t a substitute for childcare, especially when your boss expects you to be productive between 9-5. So if you have kids you’ll need to hire help, enlist a family member to babysit, or find a daycare center you trust.
Do you know what you’re supposed to do?
Consider whether you have a clear job description. Do you know what your boss expects from you? Depending on your boss, you won’t have the personal contact with him or her that you did before — which can be a good thing — so you need to set clear deadlines and set up weekly face-to-face meetings.
Are you a self-starter?
Anyone who works from home will agree that it’s easy to get distracted. You don’t have the refrigerator, laundry and even your family around to keep you from working when you’re in a corporate office. When you work from home, you need to be able to motivate yourself to start working each day and to continue working throughout the day.
How organized are you?
Having basic organizing skills from time management to project management are important when you work from home. If you’re disorganized, it’s up to you to organize your office and avoid wasting time looking for supplies, papers and anything else you need. Learning new organizing habits could be a matter of survival.
Telecommuting isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a self-starter and can work without being supervised all day, telecommuting may be the next step for you.
Would telecommuting work for you? Do you know someone who telecommutes?