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Guest Post from Tricia Sciortino
Thanks to technology that enables collaboration from virtually anywhere and an evolving view of how teams can be configured, more employers today are willing to allow employees to work from home or hire independent, home-based contractors. That means it’s easier than ever for people who want to work from home to find a home-based job, either as freelancers or telecommuting employees.
But before you find that home-based work arrangement you’ve always wanted, it’s a good idea to check your assumptions at the door and make sure you’ve thought through all of the implications of working from home. Here are three tips that can help you prepare for work-from-home success:
- Commit to a flexible schedule: There is plenty of evidence that telecommuting and home-based work is a win for employees and employers alike. Employees who are juggling family obligations benefit from flexible schedules, and employers who offer telecommuting and work-from-home arrangements can retain valuable employees, particularly millennials. But flexibility is a two-way street. When you work from home, you’ll likely interact with customers and team members across multiple time zones. The flexibility that makes home-based work attractive will be to your advantage when you need to run an errand or take care of family business, but it pays to be flexible in return and make yourself available when an employer or freelance client needs your help after regular business hours.
- Create the perfect space for work: Transitioning from an office-based job to home-based work requires many adjustments. You have to be disciplined and self-starting. Carving out the right space for work in your home can help you make the transition. Create a work area that is just for you, whether that means claiming a spare room or a corner of the dining room table as your designated workplace. If you’ll be participating in telepresence activities like video conferencing, make sure you maintain a professional appearance, and don’t forget to give some thought to your surroundings — like making sure the web cam doesn’t capture a sink full of dirty dishes over your shoulder.
- Think “work-life integration” rather than “work-life balance:” The idea of achieving the perfect balance between work and home life is alluring, but it’s also a myth: It’s not easy to maintain a state of equilibrium with no struggles. Life at work and at home are equally unpredictable and frequently messy, and striving for perfection can leave you dissatisfied. A more realistic goal is to successfully integrate work and life. It’s important to understand all the ways that work and life are interdependent and interconnected. Make sure you have the tools and technology needed to shift gears quickly to take on new priorities, and you’ll be in a better position to integrate both components.
Working from home all or part of the time is increasingly an option in the so-called “gig economy.” With sophisticated collaboration platforms that enable teamwork even on complex projects and telepresence technology that can bring a far-flung group into the same virtual conference room, companies now understand that they can improve employee satisfaction and reduce expenses with a remote workforce.
But for workers, whether employees or freelancers, successfully making the transition to home-based work requires a different approach than showing up at an office every day and taking cues from a manager. By fully embracing the concept of flexible scheduling, creating a home workspace that works and integrating work and life successfully, you can set yourself up for work-from-home success.
About Tricia Sciortino
Tricia Sciortino is the president of eaHELP, which provides virtual executive assistants. She joined eaHELP in November 2010 as a virtual assistant and first employee of the company. Tricia has a background in senior retail management, including experience overseeing a team of more than 150 employees, and supporting senior leaders in the church construction industry.