After a particularly prickly exchange between you and your boss, you decide that this working in an office deal has got to change. So you find a telecommuting job that promises to give you freedom and, most importantly, a flexible schedule. Working from home comes with its own set of challenges, though. Do you have what it truly takes to telecommute? Here’s what you’ll need in order to be a successful telecommuter.
A dedicated space
Not everyone has a built-in office in their home in which to turn into an office space. That shouldn’t deter you from your telecommuting dream, though. You can convert almost any space into a home office, so long as the space serves as your home office—and your home office only. So get creative with your home office; it can be anything from a converted closet, garage, attic, or even a small nook off of your family room.
Sure, you’d love to get that $2,000 desktop, but you’re footing the bill to outfit your office, not your employer. You’ll still need a pretty good computer in order to work well from home, so try to buy the best within your budget. (And it goes without saying that you’ll need the fastest Internet connection that you can get!) Depending on what your profession is, you may need a good quality scanner, fax machine, printer, and software programs such as Photoshop, Microsoft Office, etc. That’s why you should budget out exactly how much it will cost you to complete your office from the outset, so that way you can be prepared to be an efficient home office worker. Skimping on the tools and equipment that you’ll need can cost you a lot in lost productivity, wasted time, and add to your frustration, which you don’t want.
The ability to work alone
If you’ve had run-ins with micromanaging bosses or catty coworkers, working from home—alone—can seem like a dream come true. But this is the area that some workers find the most difficult. After all, it can be tricky to transition to working from home when you’ve worked in bustling offices all throughout your career. You’ll need to learn how to manage your own time effectively—a feat easier said than done.
Don’t be surprised if the first few days of working from home you feel like you’re falling without a net; it happens to even the best telecommuters at the beginning. Simply try to imagine that you’re still working in a real office; that can help keep you on your toes until you get used to working alone. Creating a calendar and a schedule that you can see will also help guide you along in the first few weeks until you become more comfortable and establish a routine for yourself. After awhile, you’ll become so accustomed to working from home that you may swear your office days are officially over.