Whenever I tell people that I work from home I get the usual “that’s cool!” or “you’re so lucky.” But it’s not always as “cool” or easy as one would think. Although working from home gives you freedom from rush hour traffic and killer pollution, it also calls for strict self-discipline.
Procrastination is a real menace to people who work from home. With no boss to look over their shoulder to check if they are actually working, a lot of home-based workers take their own sweet time often resulting in missed deadlines, unpaid work, broken trust, and wasted opportunities. Since the environment at home is relaxed, home-based workers often have the difficulty of staying on “work mode”. We also have challenges with support. In a regular office environment when your fax starts to act up you just call maintenance, they fix it for you and you’re good to go. Your computer crashes two hours away from your deadline? No problem, most offices have LAN (local area networking) and you can access your files from a co-worker’s computer. When you work from home you are usually on your own. You are the maintenance man, the technical support guy and your very own Mr. Fixit-All.
I have been working from home for more than a year and I can say that I have mastered the tools of the trade. To avoid giving in to procrastination, my first order of the day is to create a personal work schedule. I call on my self-discipline to adhere to it. I give myself small rewards (ice cream works best) whenever I am able to follow the schedule to the dot. I made a small office for myself and keep myself confined to my office during my working hours to keep myself in “work mode” throughout my work schedule. And finally, I keep a list of websites to visit for technical support, and a log of issues I have experienced and what I did to bring the issue to resolution. It's also helpful to keep close contact with friends who you know work from home like you. You'd be amazed with the amount of help and support you can get from people who share the same wows and woes as you.
Now, after overcoming the hurdles of working from home, it has become enjoyable and almost stress-free. This kind of work set up is cut out for me but not for everybody. Only people who can work with minimal to no supervision should aspire to work from home.
Rosalina Bayle is a freelance technical writer on oDesk and mother of three, based in the Philippines. Since she began working from home last year, she earns twice what she used to, has more time for her kids, and feels it's the best decision she's ever made. If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, email firstname.lastname@example.org