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Working from home is a dream for many people. After all, who wouldn’t want to cozy up in pajamas and spend the day watching Netflix or tackling tasks from the comfort of their own home instead of commuting to a workplace? Working from home also has some real benefits. For example, it can provide you with more flexible hours and help you save on commuting costs. Plus, as telecommuting becomes increasingly common, it can be an easy way to stand out in job applications and help you land that perfect position. Working from home is not all rainbows and unicorns, however, so before diving headfirst into this type of work arrangement, you should understand what it entails, the pros and cons of telecommuting, and tips for making it successful.
What is Telecommuting?
Telecommuting is working remotely, either from your home or a different location. This can cover anything from meeting with co-workers on the phone or video calls to participating in conference calls or webinars. You’ll also likely need to be able to complete administrative tasks remotely—including things like filling out expense reports or attending in-person meetings. There are many different types of work arrangements that fall under the telecommuting umbrella. Depending on the type of work you do and the needs of your employer, you might be able to telecommute part-time, full-time, or on a short-term project-based basis.
How to Telecommute Successfully
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to keep in mind that telecommuting is not for everybody. It’s best to use it only when you really need to, such as when you need to care for a sick family member or are pregnant. A good rule of thumb is to not work from home more than two days a week on average. If you’re doing it on a full-time basis, then you’re probably better off looking for another job that allows you to work in an office with other people. It’s also important to make sure your work situation is legal. In the U.S., you should check with your state’s department of labor to make sure you’re following all the applicable rules. Some states have stricter regulations than others, so make sure you’re up to date with your state’s laws. After you’ve checked to make sure your work situation is legal, you should also make sure you have the right equipment. You should have a good internet connection and a quiet environment that’s free from distractions. You may also want to invest in a home office, so that you have a dedicated space for work that’s separate from where you sleep and relax. Remember to also track your work hours and make sure to put away your work when you’re on the clock. It’s easy to get caught up in work when you’re working from home, and it’s important to set boundaries between your personal and professional lives.
Pros of Working from Home
– Flexible hours. You can often set your own hours and choose when you want to work. This can give you more time with family or help you switch to a less stressful type of work. – Reduced commute costs. If you work in a city or area with heavy traffic, you’d probably save money on gas and parking by working from home. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the stress of driving in high-traffic areas. – Reduced commute times. If you work in an area with shorter commute times, you’ll save a significant amount of time. – Fewer distractions. When you work from home, you don’t have to worry about as many distractions. You can turn off your phone and ignore co-workers who try to engage you in unimportant conversations.
Cons of Working from Home
– Lack of social interaction. When you work from home, you don’t have colleagues to keep you motivated, learn from, or help get your ideas off the ground. You may also miss out on important mentorship opportunities. – Lack of structure. Without a boss keeping tabs on you and co-workers to spur you on when you’re slacking, it’s easy to get distracted and fall behind on your work. – Lack of accountability. If you work from home, you may be tempted to work longer hours, but you don’t have a manager or co-workers keeping tabs on how long you’ve been at the job.
Should You Telecommute?
If you’ve decided that telecommuting is the way for you to go, there are a few things you should consider first. Make sure that your job is compatible with a remote work arrangement. Some jobs, such as those that require a lot of face-to-face interaction, are difficult to do remotely. If you’re unsure about your job, you can always ask your manager if telecommuting is an option. Next, make sure that you have the right skills for remote work. Being able to communicate well and get tasks done with minimal supervision are key skills for telecommuting workers. Plus, it’s helpful to have the right equipment, such as a reliable computer, a dedicated phone line, and good internet service.
Working from home can be a great option for many people, but it’s not right for everyone. If you’re thinking about telecommuting, make sure to consider the pros and cons and make a decision that’s right for you and your situation.