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Are You Cut Out to Work from Home?

Telecommuting - Are you cut out to work from home?

You roll out of bed, commute to the next room, and spend the day completing a report in your pajamas. Sounds like the dream, right? Well, that depends.

Working remotely comes with a laid-back reputation. You don’t have to commute, spend money on transportation or even put pants on if you don’t want to. Not to mention the best part of it all; spending the whole day with your dog.

But not everyone (in fact, very few people) are cut out for working in a remote office. With this kind of flexibility and freedom, it’s an environment not everyone naturally thrives in.

Case in Point

I know a little about this subject. I'm a teleworker. As a matter of fact, we all are. ConnectsUs HR is a remote happy place and all our employees, myself included,  know the daily struggles and perks that come with remote work. 

Take the Quiz

If you can confidently identify yourself with the following statements, then you don’t have to shy away from the idea of working remotely.  

You're a master of self-control

No, nobody will notice if you do laundry, the dishes, watch Netflix for a few hours or take a long nap in the afternoon…

But that’s the thing. Do you have the focus and discipline to deflect distractions that wouldn’t be present in a company office?

Success as a remote worker takes grit. You need to have a hell of a lot of gusto and willpower to buckle down with focus and intention. You have to bounce off distractions without batting an eye and act like an in-house employee without actually being one.

You have your own version of a cubical

Sprawling out on your couch and working from your laptop provides a level of comfort a cubicle with a stiff chair never could. However, its crucial that you create a workspace that is as separate from your living quarters as possible.

Ideally, you have a spare room to convert into an office. You’ve got four walls, a door, and inside fits a desk, computer, (a small) file cabinet, printer and everything you need to create an environment that nurtures creativity, productivity and most importantly limits interruptions.

You have a healthy dose of introversion

You’re NOT that person that’s fighting the irresistible urge to talk to someone every few minutes. Extraverts, let’s be real. As social butterflies who thrive on interactions with others to stay energized and motivated, the isolation of working remotely may not be the best option for you.

But if you excel in solitude and find the proverbial water cooler chatter tends to take a lot of your energy, then you’ll find a quiet environment more conducive to your creativity and productivity.

You have a place for your pets

If you’re in an important video conference call or phone call, you don’t want your dog barking up a storm in the background for your boss, customers, or clients to hear. Not very professional. Again, this is where the importance of four walls and a door comes into play. Set realistic boundaries for your work schedule and communicate them very clearly to everyone in your household; pets, kids, spouses or roommates. Have a sign ready to tape on your office door during important meetings where you absolutely can’t be disturbed. It’s kind of the physical equivalent of turning your cell phone ringer off.

You’re a conscious communicator

You know how to compose a message that will guarantee a quick response. Virtual communication is a tricky thing. With non-verbal’s and a lack of facial expressions in the equation, you must be able to convey text, context and subtext via virtual tools in a skillful way that minimizes misinterpretation. I can’t stress this enough – communicate as clearly and as frequently as you can.

You’re a fashionista

I’m a total hypocrite to say this but you’ve got to ditch the pj’s. Even if you’re not interacting with people all day, it’s important to dress for success. Wake up, shower, brush your teeth, and put on a still comfortable (but stylish) outfit. Starting your day like this will tell your brain that it’s work time, not relaxation time.

You’re an IT wizard

If your computer crashes or your WIFI isn’t working, you’re on your own. Well, maybe that’s not completely true. You may have an IT person or team you can call for select issues, but you can’t afford to constantly call them up every time your email doesn’t sync. Being tech-savvy is a given if you’re considering remote work. Sometimes even the highest speed internet plans will fail you. Be prepared to troubleshoot a faulty WIFI connection or any office tools that act up on you, including a printer, scanner, earphones or a headset, video conferencing tools or extra monitors.

Results

If remote work is available to you and you have the personality, skills and an environment that matches the above criteria, I recommend exploring that opportunity.

Even if you don’t identify with EVERY statement on the ideal-telecommuter checklist, working from home could still work for you. 

Personally, some days I'm a stellar remote worker, and others not so much. It's a lifestyle that has a learning curve and demands commitment and passion every single day. 

It's totally worth it. Just ask my dog. 
 


Sarah Visca
Sarah Visca is the Operations Manager at ConnectsUs HR, a company that provides tools & resources to quickly set up a Human Resources department.  
You can contact her here

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