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You 2.0

Working from Home

The internet has made working from home a viable option


23 Jun 2012 Print This Post Print This Post

    Now is a great time to consider working from home. If you can complete your tasks on a laptop with an internet connection, it’s likely that you can have a rewarding career without chaining yourself to a cubicle.

    It’s not easy, though, so let go of those dreams of sleeping in, working in your pajamas, and having pizza delivered everyday. Consider these factors and see if you truly are ready to work from home.

    Do you have the time and space at home to do the work?
    It’ll be best for you to have a dedicated area (either in your house, a corner of your room, or the coffee shop next door) that you can work from, and have all the equipment you need for as long as you need it. Sharing computer/internet time with a sibling, or suddenly being required to run errands while working is a pain, but will probably happen if you work from home.

    Tip: Identify your “work hours” and strictly follow them. You’ll have to convince the people around you (your roommates or family members) to respect these hours–and your space –as well, and not interrupt you.

    Can you work with little to no supervision?
    Companies or clients who hire you using this arrangement assume that you can submit your work on time, despite not having a boss look over your shoulder eight hours a day. This is great if you’re the self-motivated type, but if you’re not then it’s tempting to just slack off.

    Tip: Update your client/manager on your progress regularly. Many managers are not used to handling a virtual team, and will probably compensate by trying to micro-manage you by email or phone. Make them feel better by updating them often, and especially before they ask. Become comfortable with asking questions, or calling them to clarify a task, so you don’t end up spending so much time on a mistake. Once they feel that you’re well-informed, and that you keep them up-to-date, they’ll place more trust in you and not pester you as much.

    Are you able to submit quality work on a deadline?
    Let’s say you have your laptop, and your space, and no one in the house interrupts you. But how well can you keep your focus on your job when the Internet offers so many distractions? If you agree to submit your work by a certain date, can you commit to doing your best even when you have streaming video, the TV, radio, refrigerator, and phone all within arm’s reach?

    Tip: List down daily goals for yourself. If you do indulge in a trip to the kitchen, or a 2-minute Youtube video, do it as a reward for finishing your goals for the day. Learn to schedule daily goals so that you finish a project before the deadline, so your clients have time to give you feedback without setting back their own timelines.

    It may be working from home, but it’s still work! Being managed “virtually” poses its own unique challenges, but with discipline and planning, you can be just as productive as a cubicle-dweller (or maybe more!).


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