Think working from home is a great option for you? Here’s a reality check on what you can really expect if you pursue this option.
I began to telecommute from a home office in 2001 and I can’t begin to tell you how many people tell me they wish they could do the same. The extreme reactions I get have me believing most people think I’m living the good life, lounging around all day and working here and there when I feel like it.
Working from home has its perks, but basically it’s work. There are some definite working from home pros and cons to consider before going down this path:
It’s easier to focus with fewer meetings to attend and no coworkers stopping by your desk to chat. You may get more work done in less time.
The option to telecommute isn’t for everyone. You need to be very self-directed to be productive. It can take a while to get used to less face time with colleagues, and some people never do.
In most administrative jobs, it’s critical that you be there in person. Managers like to know they can easily talk to their admins at their desks and it’s generally easier to coordinate administrative tasks or projects when you’re on-site. If you screen phone calls, it can get complicated working remotely.
You get to work from the comfort of your home!
You get to work from the comfort of your home. The dishes left in the sink at breakfast are there to greet you when you break for lunch. The family dog who barks at everyone who walks by your house may have you taking conference calls in the quiet of your child’s room, like me.
You have some flexibility to handle personal demands. For instance, you know you’ll be there when a package is delivered or a contractor stops by to make house repairs.
When you telecommute, this doesn’t mean you can just work whenever it’s convenient. You need to make sure you’re available during business hours. You'll also want your young children at childcare when you're working from home. It’s next to impossible to watch your kids and do your job well simultaneously. Imagine having children making noise in the background when your boss or an important client calls. Not good. Most employers will expect you to make childcare arrangements before agreeing to this work arrangement.
You can’t beat the ease of going to work at a home office. No commuting!
Your friends and family may not understand what it means to telecommute. Don’t be surprised to receive personal calls during work time or get requests to get together on weekdays – no matter how clear you are about your work hours.