The idea of working from home often seems too good to be true. It’s a great choice that comes with its own benefits. You get to wake up later, don’t have to worry about dressing up and not having to squeeze with the insane morning traffic. Most importantly, you get to get all your work done through the comfort of your home, in your pajamas.
However, working from home isn’t for everyone. If you still can’t get enough of office politics, water cooler gossip, or workspace drama, for example, doing your work from home may leave you feeling discontent and out of the loop.
While some people are more focused and productive when working at a 9 to 5 job in the office, others thrive in a home-based office environment.
That said, if you’re thinking of quitting your 9 to 5 job in an office and find a job that allows you to work from home, here’s what you need to make it:
1. Laser Focus
Let’s face it. Many distractions abound at home more than at the formal office. While at the office, for instance, you may visit the company’s pantry once or twice for a cup of coffee. However, at home, you have the opportunity to access the fridge every hour or more.
If you’re doing your work from my room, the biggest distraction you’ll probably have to fight off is snuggling under the sheets of your bed.
The distractions are overwhelming, and if you don’t get them out of the way, your productivity will suffer immensely. To get around this, create a home office and treat it like an actual office.
In other words, take a shower, dress up and get ready for the workday. It switches your mindset from ‘home’ to the ‘work’ mode. When in your home office, minimize distractions and work on.
2. Organization Skills
Many things can accumulate around your desk in no time. Pens, a bunch of keys, newspapers, and all manner of clutter can quickly pile up because you work alone and who cares if trash collects near you?
Well, don’t fall into this trap particularly because video conferencing may be part of your work routine. A cluttered up space can distract you and make you less productive. So, be sure wipe down that crusty keyboard and empty the dustbin each night.
3. The Ability To Work On Your Own
If you can achieve more in the company of colleagues and enjoy it when talking to people nearby as you work, then telecommuting is probably not your string suit.
While in your home office, you’ll be away from other people and that means no time for endless gossip or petty office politics.
But this doesn’t mean you have no one to talk to. You can connect with colleagues through many instant messaging apps and post cute photos of your new puppy for your friends to see. But, when you have a tight deadline, keep off IM apps and concentrate on the task at hand.
4. Excellent Communication Skills
When telecommuting, you need superb written and spoken skills. Often, clients will send project details through email or any other channel you agree on. You’re required to be prompt and ask for clarifications or a deadline adjustment.
Most of your communication will be via email or phone, and so it’s important you know how to express yourself succinctly and vividly.
Telecommuting has a lot of perks, but the IT department isn’t one of them. So when your computer crashes or your network acts up during a Skype call, it’s all up to you.
Can you troubleshoot network, email or computer issues? Are you comfortable working with apps such as Skype, Dropbox, or Google Hangouts?
As an at-home worker, you should have some basic understanding of some of the apps used to communicate with clients and the company.
To be effective, you need to know how to communicate through the following platforms:
- Skype – It’s essential for text, voice and video chats.
- Google Docs – Most clients may opt for this platform for collaboration.
- Google Sheets – Some clients may share project details through this app or prefer it for invoice purposes.
- Slack – It’s good for project collaboration, and it syncs well with Google Drive hence it’s possible to paste in Slack links to projects on Google apps such as Google Docs or Google Sheets and access project details.
- Gmail – It’s the most preferred for business communication because it’s secure and syncs with Google Drive.
- Trello – It’s a great way to help your team stay organised through the uploading of files to online boards.
These are just but a few of the apps you may need to keep in touch with your clients. For instance, one of your clients may prefer sending project details and all communication through Facebook Messenger. Others may prefer doing so on other platforms. So, as you can see, it all depends on your client’s needs and preferences.
They might ask you to start using an app you’ve never used before, so you need to be a fast learner and embrace technology because it’s the only tool that makes telecommuting effective.
To be effective in your communication, sync all of the apps you use to communicate with clients with your phone so you can quickly respond when away from your PC or laptop.
Working from home can be considered a luxury. But this is only possible if you can stay focused. This way, you’ll be able to make working from home, work for you too.