By Heather R. Huhman
Working from home might seem like a dream -- and since many companies are going the virtual route, more employees are now expecting flexible work options -- such as telecommuting and working virtually or from home. According to a survey commissioned by Mom Corps, a national flexible staffing firm, 51 percent of working adults (ages 18 to 44) plan to look for a new job within the next three years with an employer that offers flexible work options.
While this dream of yours could very well become a reality in the next several years, you might want to consider a few things before becoming a full-time work-from-home employee.
- Can you motivate yourself? No one will be around to remind you to get that project done or to tell you to stop playing online games. When working from home, your internal motivation must be strong enough to overcome your desire to sleep in, do laundry or talk to your friend on the phone for an hour.
- Do you have the necessary tools to get work done? For most workers, this means a computer, reliable Internet access and a telephone. If something else is required to successfully complete your daily tasks, add that to the list as well. Companies often opt to allow workers to stay at home to save costs; so don't expect that these types of things will be provided to you as they normally are in an office setting.
- Are there too many distractions in your home? Will your children be home while you're trying to work? Do you have roommates who are home during the day? Do you have a dedicated office space or area to use during "work hours?" Since you're mixing your work and home lives, you need to create a routine for yourself to ensure that you're accomplishing all of your tasks for the day.
There are certainly challenges working from home, but the benefits often outweigh those for most folks. For example, you won't have to commute to work every day, saving on transportation costs -- and eliminating the time you would've spent in the car on your way to work. Many telecommuters also have the luxury of creating their own schedule or working in their pajamas. Determining if it's right for you depends on how you work best and what you value most.
What else should workers consider before working from home? If you work from home what do you like most (or least) about it?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of "Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle" (2011), "#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle" (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.
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