I have worked from home for the past 16 years which has been wonderful for family life – the ability to be home for my kids whilst contributing to the household financially is something I am proud to have made work. However anyone who is self employed will tell you that it is not easy, and you have to be aware that it will be up to you to develop new skills to remain switched on to your work and sensitive to your team and clients.
When you are not present in an office every day, you can easily miss the little things. Information flow that happens naturally in a team environment has to be worked at when you are remote. It will be up to you as the remote worker to keep in touch and make your presence felt with your colleagues, without getting (virtually) in their way! If you are self employed and don’t have a team but clients, they will need to feel kept up to date with your progress for them and you will have to be strict about managing your time so that you are not interrupted during an hour that a client is paying for.
Over the years I have worked alone, reporting to my clients and managing my own workload, and in recent years I’ve worked as the Editor at BritMums within a team. Both roles whilst done from my home have required different skill-sets and an ability to be fluid in my approach. I loved the challenge of my last role as I worked with the business founders on editorial strategy in one aspect then I was managing a 50 strong team of writers – also remote workers – in another way. Being organised is key!
With remote working becoming more popular every day, and you can understand why when you see the technology we now have at our fingertips and the travel chaos reported on the news with trains not running on time and price hikes coming every January, it is easy to see why more of us are working from home – either for ourselves or as part of a big company.
Remote workers need to upskill themselves and fortunately there are lots of e-learning courses out there to help them do that. EssentialSkillz is just one company that supplies online training but if you are making a change – you may even consider re-training for a totally new career.
If you have thought about working from home then here are a few things to consider before you take the leap:
- Can I self motivate? Do you have the ability to block out tasks that may need doing at home (the laundry for example) and focus on your workload until you have achieved what needs doing that day? If you will be distracted easily or cannot force yourself to start working without having the office environment to get you going, maybe remote working is not for you.
- Do I need people? Working from home can be surprisingly lonely – even if you have clients to keep in touch with, and the minutia of social contact is lost when there is no-one to chat to for a 5 minute downtime whilst you are at the coffee machine. Personally I love the silence of working from home and no interruptions, but from time to time I do miss having colleagues on the desk next to me, just to have a quick laugh with as we go about our work.
- Can I sell? Even if your role at home is not a sales role, if you are self employed you will need to get comfortable selling quickly. You are selling your own skills every day and you cannot be shy to ask for the business or state your fees. If this isn’t in your comfort zone, you may prefer the protection of an employed job where you do the work that the company brings in for you. Self employed people have to hustle!
Have you ever experienced remote working? I’d love to hear your story if you leave a comment below!