Is working from home right for you?

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The remote-worker craze is sweeping the nation, with more employers than ever presenting opportunities for workers to slash their morning commute from forty-five minutes to forty-five seconds, or roughly the time it takes you to get from your kitchen to your spare bedroom or living room work space. But is working from home right for you? The answers may surprise you! Review these four questions and put yourself to the test. 1. Do you have dedicated (and isolated) space to work at home? Creating a suitable work environment can be challenging for some renters, depending on the amount of space you have in your apartment. If you can repurpose a second bedroom (or any room with a door!) then you’re in luck. If, however, you are considering putting your work station in any area of your home that’s shared space, know that—while doable—it’s not ideal. Work can get messy, and to make a shared-space workstation successful, you’ll have to devote extra time to keeping your work-related materials tidy (or at least organized enough that you can find what you need, when you need it!) It can also be very difficult to work from home if you will always be spending time with another person or group of people. Doable—but difficult, especially if you’re that individual’s prime caregiver. So keep that in mind as you consider working remotely. Unless you have a very forgiving organization who’s willing to work with a chaotic schedule, sometimes it’s just not feasible to work remotely given your other responsibilities. Need extra tips on working from home in a small apartment? Check out our article How to work from home in your (tiny!) apartment. 2. Are you a self-starter (and self-motivator)? This is one of those questions you see on just about every job application, but it’s particularly important for remote workers. On a dark and gloomy morning, when you’re supposed to begin your work detail at five a.m., it may be extremely tempting to roll over and hit the snooze button because nobody “really” knows when you start or stop working (unless your company uses tracking software for this purpose.) At the other end of the day, it can be tempting to knock off early, telling yourself you’ll put in the extra time “tomorrow” if you’re exhausted or bored with your given task. Bottom line, when you’re not in a team environment, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to go the extra distance, particularly if you’re not receiving much direct guidance or validation. Can you handle being your own motivator? Which takes us to our next question… 3. Do you like working in a team environment? Are you a person who loves to bounce ideas off coworkers, brainstorm solutions over the conference room table or coffee bar, or build off others’ ideas to create fantastic end results? If so, working from home may be a challenge. It can be quiet, solitary, and monotonous unless you’re used to working alone. While some companies mitigate this by having routine video calls, that can’t always replace the personal touch of being able to interact with your coworkers in person. Teams have proven to be an ideal work situation for many workers, and you may be one of them! So don’t cut yourself off from others unless it’s truly how you prefer to work. 4. Do you have to meet face-to-face with clients? If your job requires meeting in person with clients, you’ll need an easily-accessible space to do this—that doesn’t involve them walking through your living room. Whether you rent space at a local office co-op, agree to meet at a coffee shop or routinely meet at your client’s location, it’s a consideration for working from home that some employees used to working in an office can overlook! Working from home can be tremendously rewarding, and if you find it suits you, it can transform your attitude toward work. That said, it’s definitely not for everyone! Here’s hoping you find the perfect work situation for you.

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