Working from home seems like a dream. Set your own hours? Yep. Work from the comfort of your living room or home office instead of a bustling corporate office? Yes indeed. But, is working from home right for you?
As great as telecommuting sounds, it certainly isn’t right for everyone. If you’ve been considering a telecommute job or asking your boss for more work from home time, then here’s how you can discover whether or not this alternative work schedule and working from home is right for you.
Is Working from Home Right for You?
What Personalities Suit the Telecommuting Lifestyle?
Are you an independent worker who prefers email and phone calls over in-person meetings? Do you crave silence while you work instead of chatting coworkers and phones ringing in the background? Do you feel you work best when left to your tasks instead of having a boss constantly supervising you?
If you answered “yes” to all or most of these questions, then telecommuting might be a good fit for you. But, if you prefer the social environment of an office full of colleagues and prefer guidance over self-driven assignments, then you may want to reconsider telecommuting.
Now I understand why I like the idea of telecommuting and working from home sounds great to me. It plays right into my introverted lifestyle.
Pros & Cons of Telecommuting
Pro: Be Your Own Boss
Say goodbye to the dread of having your boss call you into their office for a long conversation that may or may not involve your performance. And, mandatory office meetings where you half-listen, half spend time answering emails from your phone under the conference table? No more. They are a thing of the past when you work from home and telecommute.
Telecommuting gives you more freedom and flexibility in how you spend your workday. And, even if someone is checking in on you every so often via phone or email, you’ll still have a greater degree of independence working on your own than if you’re in a corporate office.
Con: Nobody to Hold You Accountable but You
If self-motivation is occasionally hard to come by, then working on your own without a boss hovering over your shoulder might be a bit of a challenge. Until you get into a habit of working regularly on your own, forcing yourself to wake up early (or stay up late if you’re more of a night owl) and avoiding distractions – kids, big game on TV, clearance sale at your favorite store at the mall – telecommuting will create some obstacles to your productivity.
It’s not for everyone. Telecommuting and working from home take some getting used to. And, it takes a certain amount of discipline.
Pro: Schedule Flexibility
On the bright side, if you’re driven enough to get your work done before or by the deadline, then who cares when you work, as long as it’s completed on time?
Whether you’re a busy stay-at-home parent looking to add to the family income, someone who loves traveling but needs to money to do so, or simply someone who wants to work an alternative schedule to the usual 9-5, telecommuting gives you the freedom to work at your peak performance hours (and avoid the struggles of commuting!).
If you’re a pretty social person, then the exciting prospect of working from home may lose its luster after several weeks of minimal contact with colleagues. Even if you have plenty of work to do, it can get boring working alone in your office day after day.
And, some folks find that they’d rather work in a crowded office just to have more contact with other people throughout the workday. I know people like J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy quit his job to blog full-time – only to rent space in an office or commune to be closer to people. He’s a social butterfly that way.
I couldn’t do that. I can’t write that way. I need complete silence or white noise to get my thoughts down on the computer screen. The thought of even working in a home office scares me with the distraction of children pitter-pattering around.
Pro: Work from Anywhere
Telecommuting means you don’t have to work at home, however. You can pretty much work anywhere there’s internet and a phone signal.
Whether you feel like going on vacation or simply working in a beachside café with free wifi one day, you’re free to do so! My dream is to retire and write Money Q&A from the beach in South Carolina.
Where to Find Telecommuting Jobs
Unless you have an arrangement with your current boss to work from home, you’re probably looking for a new job that is telecommute-only. While there are several freelancing websites such as Elance to get you started, there are also many websites where you can find part and full-time telecommuting jobs where you’ll be an employee instead of an independent contractor.
Some websites where you’ll find telecommute job postings include:
- FlexJobs (you’ll have to pay $7-14 per month depending on whether you have a coupon code and/or a monthly or annual membership. But, these are premium job listings from legitimate employers that you won’t find on Craigslist)
- LinkedIn (free, but you’ll want to fill out your full profile so potential employers can see what you do)
If you decide that you have the right personality type for independent working from home and you’ve decided that the pros outweigh the cons of telecommuting, then this work option can be an excellent choice for you.
Finding legitimate telecommuting jobs in the beginning might be challenging, but the worst that can happen is you decide working from home simply isn’t for you. So, give it a shot and start applying!
What about you? Have you tried telecommuting? Have you tried to work from home? What works for you? What have you found to be your work from home style?