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Working from home – is it for you?

Working from home – is it for you?

Like any job environment, working from home requires a certain type of individual.  There are skills and characteristics of the home employee that may or may not fit your style.  So if you are considering working from home, you might want to ask yourself if it’s right for you.  Here are some things to consider.
The Work Day
Do you value the time when the work day is over and you can go home and do what you please?  If this is a valuable aspect of your outside-the-home job, then think carefully if you want to work from home.  Setting your own hours sounds wonderful, but it is not as easy as it sounds.  You don’t go home from your home office!
Computer Knowledge
If you are going to work from home, you’ll need a working knowledge of computers.  You don’t have to a software designer, but knowledge of the basics is important.  It’s also a good idea to have resources you can turn to, such as technically savvy friends.
There’s no IT department to turn to in the home office, and computers require maintenance and updates.  If you have trouble downloading software, or if your machine freezes up, you will need to have some knowledge at your disposal to fix the problem.  Also, you are undoubtedly using an internet connection to work from home; find out if a back-up plan is feasible for you in case you can’t get online.
Task Orientation
Some people are more task oriented than others – that is, some people find great satisfaction in making a list and getting everything on it done.  Others find staying on task difficult, and may get distracted easily with other interests and ideas.  You don’t have to be naturally task-oriented to succeed at working from home; but you do need to be honest with yourself about your abilities in this regard and plan accordingly.
Remaining self-motivated can be challenging for some.  Again, you can’t rewire your brain to be the personality type you need to succeed; but understanding your limitations and strengths regarding motivation can help you put safeguards in place before you begin.
For example, if you have trouble staying motivated, you can ask a friend to hold you accountable periodically.  He or she can check up on you weekly with an email or phone call, asking you if your’re on task and if you’ve reached your goals. 
If you already have a day job, carefully consider the perks that job offers and decide what you will do about providing those yourself.  Health insurance and taxes, for instance, are often things an employer takes care of behind the scenes.  You’ll want to look into those things on your own before starting out in the work at home world. 
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.