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As someone that works from home for a living, I’ve been somewhat of a nomad from time to time. I have a second home overlooking the Chesapeake Bay where I have the phone, laptop, and broadband access – all that I need to function in my job. Who said that the “H” in WFH had to be taken literally as your primary residence? I can get as much done (sometimes more) working in locations other than “home”. Why not work from wherever you have the basic requirements for working effectively? Why not work from a Polynesian island? The only thing I can see getting in the way is timezones and whether you need to be in touch with people during a particular timeframe on a daily basis.
This article from the now defunct Business 2.0 on Extreme Telecommuting takes the location flexibility of WFH to the far end of the spectrum. I’m not sure I’m ready to buy a one-way ticket out of the country yet, but for some, this lifestyle may be an option.
FlexJobs bills itself as the largest telecommuting Job Site for employers and job seekers. The concept of such a site is a no-brainer and I hope that FlexJobs can pull it off.
In their own words, “The mission of FlexJobs is to become the foremost resource for telecommuting, flextime, and international job opportunities.”
I don’t believe that they’ve been around for longer than four or five months as I checked the Web Archive to see when their site popped up. So far they have about 29 job postings but over 1000 job seekers, which is no surprise since they are able to post their profiles for free. If you are a job seeker and are looking for a WFH job, you can’t beat free exposure so why not give FlexJobs a shot?
Anyone considering a permanent change from working in an office to working from home should consider some basic questions to see if they’re prepared for everything that comes with the arrangement. Here are my top 10 questions the future Work From Home candidate should ask themselves:
1. Why do I want to work from home?
Be honest with yourself regarding your motivations for wanting to have this arrangement. Do any of these sound like your reasons?
- I want to catch Oprah real-time
- I want to work and simultaneously care for children (like the curious one to the right)
- I want to work less
None of the above are motivations that will work long-term for you or your employer. Hopefully your motivations are more like these:
- I want to save the commute time
- I want to have a quiet space to concentrate
- I want to avoid the office interruptions
2. Are you ready for a drastic reduction in face time with peers and management?
Most people are social animals and they thrive on interaction with others. Working from home can put a crimp in the amount of interpersonal interaction that one gets. Phone and instant messaging contact can help lessen the withdrawal, but they are no substitute.
3. Are you able to stay focused and avoid Oprah and the household chores?
There’s no harm in throwing the laundry in the washing machine, but if you can’t focus on work with household distractions surrounding you, then working from home may not work out for you.
4. Do you have a suitable workspace to work from home?
A dedicated room is best. It let’s you close yourself off from the kids and the pets as well as provide dedicated equipment and furniture.
5. Will your career opportunities become more limited if you make the change?
I’ve seen a glass ceiling in some cases when it comes to career advancement when working from home. Some of the top jobs in an organization just can’t be done from home – or at least that’s how the VP filling the position sees it. Look at the people at your company in the jobs that you want next – do they work from home?
6. Will your company provide the equipment necessary or are you prepared to make the investment?
You will need equipment and furniture to do your job effectively and comfortably. Sitting at the kitchen table can get uncomfortable after awhile. You may need to finance some of it out of your own pocket if your company will not be funding it.
7. Will the kids, pets, or the significant other become a cataclysmic distraction?
Aside from your own control over personal distractions, your family can be another great source of them.
8. Will the productivity you had in the office change without face time?
Things take longer over the phone or email compared to when they’re done in person. Be prepared to lose some efficiency.
9. How long do you anticipate the WFH arrangement to last?
Are you making a commitment measured in months, years, or your entire career? It may not matter, but it is interesting to take note of it. If you become a WFH lifer, you have some new options that you might not have contemplated before – you can get rid of an extra car, move to a city of your choice, or get that dog you couldn’t have before.
10. Have you slept on it long enough before making the commitment?
Don’t make rash decisions. I take suitable time on every important decision I make and wait to see if my stance changes with the passage of time.
photo courtesy of celila