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Monday, 1 November 2010

Working From Home

by Shirley Black, LLM

Jobs Vacancy, Employment, Employment Jobs

Waking up in the morning and enjoying a leisurely meal with the morning paper before you prepare for the commute to work… a commute that involves walking into the next room and sitting down at your own desk in the comfort of your own home. For many people, this is a dream long in the pursuit.

For a variety of reasons, working at home is an increasingly popular option for many people. Whether they enjoy the flexibility of being able to work from literally anywhere, or just find it convenient to be able to avoid a lengthy commute in our current economy, there are certainly many advantages to being able to work from home.

However, there are a great number of disadvantages as well that aren’t so obvious. Anyone thinking about accepting a work at home position needs to carefully think things through before they commit to a situation that might not be everything they expected it to be!

A Double Edged Sword

If your reasons are primarily because you value the freedom you imagine that working at home will bring you, you must realize that things aren’t always as they seem. According to a report by ABC News, the freedom of working from a home office often acts as a double edged sword. Many times, what might have seemed like annoyances while we were in the office now seem like saving graces when we no longer have access to them.

For instance, the ability to quickly and easily ask for advice or guidance from on-site mentors or colleagues is seriously impeded by the lack of face to face contact necessitated by working from a home office.

In addition, your work will likely be under much greater scrutiny because you’ll be creating it in a vacuum so to speak. Therefore, be prepared to accept a greater deal of responsibility for the quality of your assignments.

It Takes a Certain Kind…

Even if you have seemingly sound reasons, it might still be the case that your situation isn’t optimal for allowing the convenience and freedom of working from home. It takes a certain kind of person, in a certain kind of situation, to really excel when working from home. Consider the following points carefully.

Do you have access to a home office? Without one, you’re going to find it quite difficult to get the peace and quiet you need to get an appreciable amount of work done.

Is your job one that you can really do from home? Obviously, some positions are more suited than others to working alone from a home office with limited contact with the rest of your team. Clearly, if your job requires constant contact with your colleagues, or the use of on-site equipment, you’re not going to be able to work from home.

Lastly, consider your own needs. Are you the type of person who can function well on your own? Are you self-motivated? Consider that you’re no long going to have the benefit of supervisors keeping you on track and making sure that you’re coming in under the deadline. You’ll have to monitor each and every one of your projects on your own, and accept the full accountability for your successes or failures.
Making the Leap

If you do decide that telecommuting is the way to go for you, consider how you’re going to handle the transition. Most places of business, even if they’re receptive to your working from home, would frown upon your just suddenly vanishing from the workplace.
Instead, work with your supervisors to establish a schedule by which you can take on more and more at-home responsibilities until you reach the point where you’re not coming in to the office at all. This also has the added benefit of allowing you to get a taste for the work-at-home life to find out if it’s really for you.


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