Tuesday, February 28, 2012

3 Questions To Ask If You Want to Work at Home

Are you a good candidate for teleworking? Would you thrive in your own business, working from home? There are a lot of things to consider, but here are three I believe are most important.


1) Are you a self starter? 

I have an office at the church, however I work from home for about 50% of my work week. This actually enables me to get a lot more done than I would otherwise, being that I am extremely self motivated.

Nobody is home with me most of the time, except for my dogs. They don't give me instruction to do all the computer or paperwork associated with my job seekers,  to finish the five projects on my plate for church that day, or to prepare a message to preach when I travel this weekend. I am responsible to start those projects, and finish them.

If you can't start projects on your own and follow them through without someone prodding you on, working from home is not for you. If you need constant encouragement or feedback from others to keep you motivated, you might want to reconsider.

2) Are you focused?

When I'm working from home there are a ton of things around me at the house that need to be done. Unfinished chores at home depress me.  I like to have absolutely everything in order at all times. However if a church project is due that morning or a job seeker's file needs attending to, or I have three church calls to return, the other things have to wait until I am finished with work.


Let me explain the practicality of this to you as well when it comes to family matters and working from home. Your family has to understand the focus your job demands. This requires their understanding that you are there at times but not really there, because you are technically still at work. At times I will be on the phone with a client, put the headset on mute and get up from the computer to go get a cup of coffee while I'm still listening attentively. One of the kids may walk out into the kitchen and see me from behind and not know I'm actually still at work.  When they say, "hey Mom..." I turn around and when they see the headset they know I'm still at work. Unless it's an emergency, their question waits.

The point is - despite the distractions around you including dirty laundry and kids who want to know why they can't find the Easy Mac that was supposed to be in the pantry, you must stay laser focused and get your work done. The good news for me is that when I work from home I get things done much quicker and can attend to home things sooner rather than later most times.  

3)  Do you have the discipline to stop?

For the person who remains focused, you can become so engrossed in your work that you find it hard to rest. Working from home is the perfect environment for boundary blurring. It can completely take over your life.


Even if you don't work from home as a general rule but simply make yourself available from home to your co-workers or clients, it can be all consuming. My husband makes himself available from whenever he works (church, home or otherwise)  for six days a week, yet everyone knows Friday is his day off. This past Friday, his phone rang three times all before 10:30 AM from church people wanting things from him. He just pleasantly and quickly gave them what they asked for when they called but after the third call I said, "how many more of those are you going to answer today?" gently (okay, not-so-gently) reminding him that he needed to get some rest.

Just as you set a boundary to make sure you get the work done you also have to be wise enough to set one so you can rest when the day is done, and on your day off each week.

If I set no boundaries I would easily work 16 hours a day.  And sadly, sometimes I have. This isn't good for my family, or for me personally. I don't have to keep strict track of the hours to know my boundaries are lacking. Everything is off spiritually, emotionally and physically.  For me, setting the boundary means stopping at a certain point each night, and refusing to answer correspondence or phone calls on my day off unless it's a life/death emergency. A healthy me and a healthy family demands it!

There are many things to consider, but these are just a few starting points if you are thinking about taking a job working from home, or starting a business.

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