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 You are Here: Work at Home Moms > Telecommuting & Work at Home Directory > What it Takes

Telecommuting and Jobs Tutorial - Part 2 - Do you have what it takes to be a telecommuter?

For many busy people, the idea of telecommuting sounds like a dream.

In fact, a Nov 2007 Citrix survey found that 23% of US workers regularly do their jobs from someplace besides the office and 62% who cannot work off-site would like to.

If you’re in that 62% that would enjoy working from home, there are a few myths to clear up first.

Working from home means you’ll have more time.

This generally isn’t the case. Unless you’re extremely productive and can ignore all the little things that are a distraction at home then you’re going to be working the same amount of time and probably more. For many, the ability to work from home also comes with a sense of obligation and a need to ‘prove’ yourself to your employer. This tendency means working longer than you may typically work at the office. Additionally, when you work from home, the work is always there. There’s no leaving it at the office.

Working from home means you can work when you want to.

This largely depends on your job. If you’re handling customer service for a company then your hours are the customer service hours. Heading out for a jog during your work day may mean a missed call. However if you’re a transcriptionist, then yes you can transcribe whenever it fits into your day.

Working from home means I won’t need to pay for childcare.

Have you ever tried to focus when your children are at home? It’s difficult if not downright impossible. Working from home and caring for children means some clever balancing. Many telecommuters still choose to place their children in child care for a portion of the day.

What skills does a telecommuter need?

Organization skills. It is imperative that a telecommuter is organized. If your personal files are mixed up with work files then getting the right information to the right people will take more time and energy than you have. A systemized and organized home office is essential. Additionally, if you’re splitting your time and working both at home and at your employer, you’ll need to develop a system that ensures documents are always where they need to be.

Time management skills. Telecommuters are often surprised to find that keeping regular work hours is more difficult than imagined. Not only do you have to motivate yourself to keep regular work hours, but friends, family, and associates will all assume you’ve all the time in the day and will frequently call you to ‘chat’ during work hours. Laundry, dirty dishes, and the sun shining outside are all easy distractions. Keeping to a regular work schedule will be more difficult than you imagine – guaranteed!

Self-Motivation skills. The sun is shining, the dog would love a walk and you would too. Besides, that project isn’t due until next week, right? So why not take that walk? This trap is so easy to fall into and unfortunately as projects pile up, things don’t get done. It is almost guaranteed that if you put off a project, something will come up. Your child will get sick, you’ll get sick, or your computer will crash. The best motto for a telecommuter – never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

With everything that is required to be an effective telecommuter, it is helpful to know that the necessary skills can be learned.

There are many resources on the IBMoms website that help with time management, organization and self-motivation skills. If you desire to telecommute, it can be done!

Next, let’s talk about whether you have to find a new job or if you can make it work with your current employer.

Telecommuting Tutorial Part 3 - Look for a new job or make it work where you are?


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