Doing Your Homework

There are websites devoted to it, scams that manipulate it, and new words to describe it. Some people are doing it, and others dream about it. It seems that working from home has a deep appeal for many people, especially those who commute to the office every day, and try to manage a job, home and family as well. Is this the nirvana of work–life balance, a great way to earn your living, but with less pressure?

The work-from-home option attracts people wanting to start or re-structure their own business as well as employees in larger firms. If you are tempted to make the change, perhaps take a moment or two to dig a bit deeper before you take the plunge.

PROS

It is easy to identify the benefits and possible savings, especially in today’s time-poor society. Travel, energy, and lunch costs would all drop, just for starters. Then think about increased free time and flexibility, as well as some tax deductions. And modern technology allows instant communications, no matter where you are. Email, websites, teleconferences, Skype and webinars – another new word – are all well established. So if your business activities can be done from home then you are nearly there.

CONS

But what about you, the applicant for this ideal job of ‘home-based worker’? Are you the right person for the new role?

First, ask yourself if you really have the skill set for this task. Are you disciplined or disorganised? Can you afford to set yourself up?

Have you got your own work space?

If you need to see clients, does your space say ‘professional’? Will family and friends respect your new boundaries?

Can you separate yourself from house tasks and focus on what you have to do? Do you know when to stop and take a break? Can you build and maintain the networks you need?

These are just some of the questions you need to answer for yourself. And it helps to get open feedback from people who really know you. Making it work for you As with any major change, if you sort out your objectives before you take the plunge; if you are clear about whether your top priority is income, family or lifestyle; and if you have ticked the most important boxes like self-discipline and personal boundaries, then the job is yours.

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