Think working from home is a great option for you? Here’s a reality check on what you can expect if you pursue the option to telecommute.
I began to telecommute from a home office in 2001, and I can’t begin to tell you how many people have told me that 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, spending time with the kids and working here and there when I feel like it.
Working from home can help with the stresses of being a working parent — but it's not the only solution. Get advice from OfficeTeam on how to solve working parent challenges.
The reality is this: Working from home has its perks, but basically it’s work. Before going down this path, you will want to consider some working from home pros and cons.
Pro: It's easier to focus when you telecommute
For many people in administrative jobs, 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.
Con: It's more difficult to manage some tasks
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 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.
Pro: You're at home
You get to work from the comfort of your home!
Con: Here you are — still at 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.
Pro: There's some flexibility for life needs
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.
Con: It may be harder to be available for work needs
When you telecommute, for administrative jobs, 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 they will agree to this work arrangement.
Pro: You're already at the office
You can’t beat the ease of going to work at a home office. No commuting!
Con: Friends and family can find you
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.
More on work flexibility
Do you telecommute? Share your own working from home pros and cons in the comments.