Do you have what it takes to work from home? If you haven't yet experienced telecommuting, the thought of it may sound to good to be true. Getting up, putting on your favorite pair of slippers, fixing yourself a cup of coffee and sitting down in your favorite chair may sound tempting at first. But lookout! You may be in for a rude awakening.
Below we are going to discuss some personality traits that are suitable for telecommuting and some that aren't quite as desirable for the existing and want to-be telecommuter.
1. Are you a self-motivated, self-starting worker?
When you're at home working, you're not going to have a manager or boss checking in on you every five minutes to make sure you are performing your job as required.
When I first started telecommuting this was a difficult obstacle for me. My personality had been conditioned through many years of playing sports. Ever since I was a child and up until I finished college, I was always under the guidance of a coach of some sort. I had people constantly pushing me to excel. When I worked from home, I did not.
I'm better with that now. But if you happen to put projects off to the last minute because no one is watching, telecommuting may not be what you are looking for.
On a more positive note, experience has shown that most telecommuters actually get more work done at home than in the office. There are many distractions in an office setting. And employers are finding out telecommuters can be more productive workers for them.
2. How are your communication skills, both verbal but more importantly, written?
As a telecommuter, you will find that you'll be communicating more with the written word rather than verbally. Writing emails, progress reports, and text chatting are all important skills needed for telecommuting today. However, in the near future, video conferencing will begin to replace these modes of communication as internet connections seem to gain speed by leaps and bounds every day.
But for now, good writing will continue to be a much needed skill in the telecommuting world.
3. Are you the type to form strong relationships with fellow workers?
Telecommuting will take you away from the community found in most office settings. Will you be able to handle this? Or is it necessary to have your colleagues accessible throughout the day? Working from home can get very lonely. You'll be spending large blocks of time alone. But with a lot less interruptions.
I myself, don't particularly like this aspect of telecommuting. But this can be overcome by meeting up with the guys or girls after work at your favorite restaurant or on the weekends at the movies, etc.
Just be aware that constant verbal and visual communication with co-workers won't exist while working from home. And quite frankly, sometimes this can be a good thing. For you and the employer.
If you do decide to telecommute, be sure you have a good core of friends you can confide in outside of your work. Back in the 50s, most people became good friends with their neighbors and other circles within the community. But today, where are most friendly relationships developed? Most likely at your place of employment.
4. How organized are you?
Yes or No? If your answer is no, don't fret. Engineers are probably the worst at organization. Both in the office and at home. And I am great testimony to that. We have papers scattered everywhere. But don't you dare try to rearrange it, because we know exactly where everything is.
But on a more serious note, being organized can help you be more productive at your job. And productivity is key in telecommuting. You will have to prove to your boss again and again that your working from home is truly beneficial to the company.
If you happen to be an advocate of chaos, like myself, there is still hope for you. But it's always nice to keep your workspace tidy, because you never know when you'll need that critical piece of information that fell behind your desk.
And finally the big one...
5. Does technology frighten you?
If the thought of the internet, email, video conferencing, and computers in general causes you to break out in a cold sweat, you may want to think twice before you break away from that workplace zoo.
Whether we like it or not, technology is changing the workplace quickly. And especially for the blooming telecommuter. If you don't have basic knowledge of computer telecommunications this will be a skill you'll need to acquire before pursuing a work from home job. These skills aren't optional, they are requirements of all companies looking for telecommuting professionals.
So are you fit to be a telecommuter? Don't worry if you feel you aren't. These skills can all be learned. And some of the downsides, or at least what seem to be downsides, of telecommuting can easily be justified with what this work arrangement can provide you: More time with your family, time for yourself, once missed little league practices and games, more work accomplishments, and more. The positives of telecommuting far outweigh the negatives.