Working from Home
In 2009, we moved to Arizona and I left a company I had been with for nine years. We moved away from friends and family, and my husband had a job where he worked in another state for half the year.
In order to be with him, I had to change how I worked.
I had done some in-home personal training in the past, but wasn’t really sure where to start in a community I was unfamiliar with. Plus, I wanted to be able to travel with my husband. So, I hit the internet. That’s how I started writing. I was hired by two sites: one that paid per article written, and the other one paid based on hits your article received. Then, I was passed some snow birds from a friend back home for in-home training.
Changing to a work-from-home person was more challenging than I thought.
Why are the dishes staring at me? Is the laundry calling me? Does my dog always have to go out this much? But the sun is shining and it’s hot in November!
All of these things, and more, went through my head when I started out working from home. I’ll let you in on a little secret—they still do! I’ll take a 10-15 minute break to load the dishwasher. I’ll switch out the laundry and fold it later. I give myself time to do other tasks.
It is very challenging to ignore the day-to-day things that accumulate and just focus. In the past, I’d go to work, do my job, then come home and tackle those things. But, I had to change my mentality. I had the opportunity to work from home—anywhere in the country—and stay with my husband when he traveled.
This is the first hurdle to overcome when you choose to work out of your house. Avoid the distractions!
Depending on your job, you may have a set schedule each day, even if you telecommute. You may have to login at a specific time and hit the computer and phones.
Some jobs have a more flexible schedule and allow you to work when you choose. That’s great in theory, but ideally you should set regular hours. This will put you in the right mental state to be productive, and can also help you avoid overworking.
For me, it was tempting to write as many articles as possible per day, especially when Carl was out of town. I’d be sitting there for hours without realizing it: skipping meals, not drinking enough water, and fatigue would set in from staring at the monitor.
So, along with that, you need to schedule breaks. Maybe they are set for you, or you are setting them yourself. Get up, stretch, walk around a little, eat and don’t look at a screen for a few minutes.
Define Your Workspace
Ideally, you have a home office if you are working from home full-time. Away from the dirty looks of the dishes, and where you can’t hear the catcalls of the dingy clothes. A desk, comfortable chair, good lighting and your outlets for computer, Wi-Fi and phones. All of your supplies are handy, and kept orderly so you can get down to business.
If a private home office is not feasible, that’s okay! You still need to designate a workspace.
Maybe it’s your kitchen table, dining room, or a folding table you set up during working hours. That is your space! When you go there during your working hours, it’s time to work. If necessary, get yourself some noise canceling headphones to tune out the distractions. When I’m in California with Carl, we live in a hotel and I don’t have my nice home office. So my headphones go on, TV goes off and I even close the curtains so the dogs don’t start barking at people and distract me. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it helps.
People like to work from home, and apparently companies like to let you. Telecommuting has grown by 115% since 2005, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com. A lot of people don’t want to telecommute full-time, just two or three days per week. They are able to connect with fellow co-workers, attend meetings and do what needs to be done in the office, while at home they can accomplish all of the tasks that get interrupted throughout the day when they are in the office: emails, voicemails, letters, etc.
Where do I look?
So many companies are virtual nowadays so that they can connect with more people while keeping overhead low. Luckily, the internet is vast and useful, so you can find those positions more easily. FlexJobs, Virtual Vocations, We Work Remotely and even The Penny Hoarder can give you a starting place to find telecommuting positions. Some pay minimally, while other specialized positions can make a lot of money.
It just depends on your skills and education. Check it out…working from home might just be for you!