Working at home takes a certain set of personality traits. so anyone considering a work at home endeavor should take a good look at their own personality before getting started working at home.
And while one doesn't need to possess all of these personality traits when you start, you'll need to work on developing them.
Most companies have built-in organization systems that we don't notice, i.e. payroll policies, requisition forms, schedules, filing cabinets, etc. But a work at home mom must put her own systems in place. If you find it hard to stay organized either at the office or at home, bringing the two together will not make it easier. I know it seems like it woule, but unless you are already organized or working hard to get there, it will only result in more disorganization. Home and work schedules, tasks, and priorities can become hopelessly entangled without a proper organization system.
Independence means not needing constant feedback from your boss or client (because you most likely won't get it). And even if you're naturally self-sufficient and can work without asking a lot of questions, you have to have the skills to back it up. This is why so few work-at-home positions are entry level. Bosses are far more likely to trust you to work at home when they've seen how well you can do your job.
For many bosses the only question that matters is: Is the work getting done? This question's answer is often the deciding factor as to whether telecommuting continues. Companies can't micromanage off-site employees and contractors, so those workers must be able to complete the job without the boss hanging over their desks. And for business owners and independent contractors, the motivation to keep bringing in new clients and revenue is the key to long-term success. All of this takes discipline.
Flexibility is one of those personality traits we can appreciate in others more than we may like to cultivate it in ourselves. Most of us prefer to reap the benefits of someone else's flexibility. But flexibility must go both ways. A work at home moms may need to work weekends or late nights. Being flexible about hours can be a necessity.
And though one does need to be flexible, on the other hand, working at home can mean working around the clock if you are not assertive. Set yourself up for success by being clear with your boss or clients when and how much you will work. On the flip side, learn to say no to family members who will take you off task. Your work at home ground rules will help all of you navigate a the conflicts that arise between work and home.
Working at home leaves you open to many distractions. For the work at home mom, staying focused on the task at hand is key. And who most often takes distracts you? The kids, of course. Deciding whether outside childcare is needed is an important first step developing a work-at-home career. However, maintaining focus amid distractions is a constant, with or without child care.
A mom's natural ability to multitask can be a double-edged sword. She needs to know not only how to multitask but when it is appropriate.
Effective at Communicating
Telecommuters rely on email and phone, and so good writing skills and phone presence is key. The rapid communication of email is what allows many people work at home, but email has its problems too. Unlike face-to-face or phone conversations, clarifications and questions are often left unsaid in email. To minimize this, learn to write effective email. Make mental check lists as you read email. And if you don't get answers via email, pick up the phone and call.
It may seem like telecommuting means you can stay at home and be a grump in your lonely home office. But, in fact, being out of sight make friendly communication with coworkers even more important. Remember the saying: Out of sight, out of mind. Telecommuters risk being forgotten. So keeping coworkers in the loop with friendly emails and phone chats will keep you from being forgotten. Plus if there is any resentment about you working from home it is in your interest to negate that as much as possible. Also an outgoing personality makes networking easier, a particularly important skill for the independent contractor or business owner.
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