How many of you have ever wondered if you’re cut out to work from home? Plenty, I bet. I know I’ve heard multiple people tell me they don’t know how I do it, or that there’s no way they could. They might be right. They might also be selling themselves short. Working from home isn’t this mysterious, impossible task. Well, I take that back. It’s a fight for survival when you work at home with kids. But for most people, it’s just a job with a different setting. So, if you’re considering the jump from an office to your kitchen table, here’s how to determine if you really aren’t cut out to work from home.
Questions to Ask Yourself
1. Do I need coworkers to make me work?
I think a lot of people won’t consider working from home because they think they’ll get bored, and that is a very valid point. But ignore whether you’re a people person or not for right now. Most work-from-home jobs have chat options set up, whether you’re an employee or a contractor, so you aren’t cut off from the world. Actually, you might get to interact with more of the world, and that’s kind of cool. BUT (big but) if you’re using your coworkers for more than chatting and don’t do anything if they’re not bugging you to do it, you might have a problem. So, when you’re trying to figure out if you’re cut out to work from home, don’t ask yourself if you’ll miss people. Ask yourself if you need others for motivation, or if you’re only there to chat.
2. Can I survive without an IT department?
I asked my husband a question about coding the other day. He’s an avid gamer and built his own computer, so I thought this would be a reasonable question. Turned out, nope, he had no idea. He said I’d moved past him in that part of technology. Now, I’m not suggesting you’ll need coding in particular (that’s more for bloggers and self-employed with websites, not employees), but when you work from home, you have to get comfortable with technology. That’s not to say there isn’t help available. Anytime I have problems in Quickbooks, for example, they’ll either walk me through it or remote log in to my computer. But you will have to teach yourself a lot, and you’ll have to fix a lot of little glitches. Not comfortable with that? You’re probably not cut out to work from home.
3. Can I tell the difference between urgent and regular correspondence?
When you work from home, you get emails and chat notifications all day long. You have to answer them all. But, you also have to know if you need to answer something immediately or if it can sit for a few hours while you work on something else. There are ways to manage this – lots of them – but some people just won’t pay attention to them. This can be especially difficult if you have to stay logged in to a chat box all day (think Slack). Are you old enough to remember when chat rooms first started? Well, these messenger systems are basically like that, so you have to be able to catch the important stuff through the spam.
4. Do I need to be micromanaged?
Everyone’s immediately going to say no to this, but some of you are liars. Some people need constant supervision. They just do. I once worked with a lady who needed to ask questions every fifteen seconds or so to make sure she was doing things right, even though she’d worked there for years. If you are that lady, stay in the office. If you’re trying to get away from that lady, working from home is a great idea.
5. Will I go outside if I am cut out to work from home?
Sometimes I think I would never leave my house if I didn’t have kids. Other times, I’m pretty sure I’d never be home if I didn’t have them. I’d finish my work so fast! As an independent contractor, I can work whenever and wherever I want, so I would probably spend a lot of time on patios waiting for clients to call. As it is, I do attend meetup groups and go shopping. That’s actually a lot when you’re toting kids around, so I don’t feel like I’m locked away from the world. Even if you’re an introvert, there are some pretty important benefits to both going outside and being social. If you already have a hard time with those, it’s probably not a good idea to hide yourself away even more than you already do.
So, those are the questions you should first ask yourself when deciding if you’re cut out to work from home. If you’re missing one of those attributes, you can probably work on it and still be successful in a remote position, but more than that would be difficult. I’ll have more to say about the transition later, so if you want to keep up, sign up for my newsletter on the right sidebar and I’ll send you a monthly update. Seriously, just once a month, I’m too tired to send more. Do you already work from home? If so, do you have any questions to add to my list?