If working from home full time is something you're considering, you should think twice about it before jumping in. It definitely has its advantages: less money out of pocket for commuting and lunches, afternoons off because you just feel like it, and even working in your PJ's from your favorite comfy chair. As great as that sounds, it's not for everyone. It takes a certain discipline and mindset to be successful at it, says Carla Young, writing about the topic for Openforum.com.
She lists the characteristics of successful remote workers. Take this self-assessment and see how you’d fare:
Work at Home Self-Assessment
1. Ample discipline and initiative. Are you able to sit down and get to work, or are you the type who fritters away a morning with no idea what you did with the time? Procrastinators and perfectionists alike need to think twice. If you need someone looking over your shoulder to stay motivated, working from home is going to be a challenge.
Discipline and time-management skills are essential to working from home because there are plenty of temptations and distractions, says Young.
2. Independent spirit. Are you happy working independently, or do you thrive in a team environment?
Water cooler junkies be warned, she says. “If you look forward to the daily ritual of gathering and gossiping with your coworkers, know that as a work-at-home entrepreneur your social interactions are limited.”
3. Tech-savvy technician. Are you comfortable wading through the help files to figure out the solution, or do you rely on the daily support of the IT department?
Techno-timid types take heed, working at home means you are the IT department. If something breaks, you need to be able to fix it or find the right service provider to do the job right.
4. Strict boundary enforcer. Are you able to shut-off your mobile devices and leave work behind, or are you the type who takes work home with you?
Chronic workaholics, be warned, she says, it's easy to fall into the trap of working constantly when work is only a few feet away or, thanks to the miracle of modern computing, able to follow you around the house wherever you go.
Create work-life boundary rules, like never turning on the TV during office hours or no work during family time. It’s important to remember the home part of working at home and giving yourself the benefit of downtime, says Young.
5. Perpetual learner. Are you comfortable diving in and learning new skills with or without guidance from an instructor?
Chances are you will have a lot of learning to do. Young suggests you seek out entrepreneurial resources, peer groups and business mentors to help you fill in the gaps. The key is being prepared to do the work to learn what you don’t know (even if you don’t yet know exactly what you don’t know).