working from homeWorking from home….in our pjs. We all want it.  Well, we all think we want it, but working from home is not for everyone.  Some people do it better; some do it worse.

It is important to look at the opportunity and ask yourself some hard questions.  The idea of telecommuting can seem appealing, but the reality – in many cases- turns out to be something completely different.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before you set up shop at home:

  • Am I disciplined?  If every Friday you realize that you have to work over the weekend because you have not completed everything, then you may want to reevaluate your decision to work remotely.  To be successful you need discipline. You need to resist…
    1. …all the distractions found in your house – folding laundry, unloading dishwasher, watching TV, etc.  You need to be able to create a structure, stick to it and produce quality work.
    2. …the urge to merge work-life and home-life. At quitting time, you need to walk away, shut the door (either physically or abstractly) and focus on your personal life; otherwise, you will burn out quickly.   
  • Can I handle the isolation? Let’s face facts – working alone in a home office is isolating.  If you enjoy being around people.. if you feed off their energy…you might find that sitting in a home office is too sequestering.  The isolation might hinder you from doing your best work.  On the other hand, if you are someone who does well when you have your own space /schedule and does not appreciate the constant interruptions that can occur in the workplace, you might love working remotely.
  • Can I set boundaries?  There is a big misconception about telecommuting.  For many of your friends and family, the idea that you work from home does not really mean that you are working.  Once your local presence is known, requests for lunch, babysitting, and carpooling will begin popping up.  You need to be able to enforce boundaries… means work.  Ask yourself if you would be able to pick up a friends’ kid from school if you were in an office.  If the answer is “no”, then decline and handle any/all push-back you may receive.
  • Can I do what it takes to stay connected? – “Out of sight, out of mind” really is true.  Web and mobile connectivity makes it easier for remote employees to connect, but it also makes it easier for them to hide behind that technology.  It is your responsibility to stay connected.  Working remotely is a trade-off – you have more freedom, but with that freedom comes the responsibility to be available.  Nothing is more frustrating to a boss than to know that you are out there….somewhere…but just not sure where.
  • Can this arrangement work for me? Now? In many cases, working from home may be a perfect solution at a certain stage of your life.  During other stages?  Not so much. For example, if your commute is long and the time spent away from home conflicts with your family life, working remotely could be a solution as long as you have set up the appropriate childcare arrangements. On the other hand, if you are single or an empty-nester, working remotely could add or exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness. The decision is yours; however, realize that there are tradeoffs to working in this manner.  There is such a thing as the “perfect job”, but there is no such thing as a “cushy job”.

If you would like more information to help you discover the perfect job for you, visit the Career Strategies section of the Candidate Resource Hub.    Bookmark and visit often; we update information regularly!

By Christiane Soto,