Working from home and avoiding the expense and time taken by daily commuting to work is many people’s idea of a dream career. It can be – but that depends on the type of person you are and the amount of thought you have put into the opportunity. It can be a very rewarding experience and result in high levels of efficiency if you plan ahead and think about the different challenges working from home poses. Really the only type of work that cannot effectively take place at home is work that requires a high degree of supervision.
One of the many benefits of working from home is that you have independence and a greater degree of control over the hours you work and it is possible to structure your hours around family and other commitments. This should mean more time to spend with your family. You also can avoid becoming embroiled in office politics and the distraction that this may be.
Even some jobs that rely on office-based systems and procedures can be done from home, as long as the employer is willing to establish remote office connections via the internet. Likewise if it is necessary to have face-to-face client contact, appointments can be made either in the home office or you may use that time out of home to take in some other socialising activity.
Working from home requires a high level of organisation. It is necessary to have an established area set up for yourself so that when you access that space you immediately know it is time for a work mode of thinking and operating. The basic equipment that will be needed is primarily a computer, along with a comfortable desk and chair. A fast internet connection, as well as email access will usually be necessary. A mobile phone or a dedicated phone line should be sufficient to keep you connected. Some types of employment may require you to have Fax facilities, a pager or an answering machine
If you have a separate room that you can establish as on office, that is even better. Shelves and filing cabinets may be necessary to de-clutter your work environment and enable you to think clearly about the tasks you need to perform. You may be able to claim office equipment and other costs, such as utilities for your home office which can be a significant tax advantage.
Establish set hours for your designated work. A solid routine will enable you to complete the work you need to get through and will ensure that you maintain a healthy attitude towards your work. For instance, aiming to be ready at your desk by a specific time, for example, 9am, will give you a feeling of regulation and control over the day ahead. Dressing comfortably, but as though you were going to an office may be helpful and give you a sense of a usual week day, as opposed to wearing your weekend casual dress.
It is imperative that you are a person who is able to be self-motivated. Working from home usually means that you are not part of a bustling office environment with lots of social interaction. To avoid isolation it is important that you schedule time for coffee breaks and other interaction with friends, even if you cannot do so with colleagues. Even though you work from home you can still have lunch dates during your usual break.
You may still have to organise child care especially if your work requires you to be at your desk for set periods of time. Trying to work, while at the same time jumping up and down to attend to the needs of small children, may not be productive. Either home-based care or other facilities for young children may be needed. If a carer comes into your home, lunch times and other breaks can still be spent with your child. If you have school-aged children, then often you may be able to work only the hours they are away from home, especially if you are highly organised and use time efficiently. The greater flexibility in your working hours that is a result of working from home means more opportunities to structure your family’s leisure hours for the maximum enjoyment of family time together.
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