Making Working From Home Work.
As a mom, it’s hard to beat working from home—at least part of the time. It offers increased autonomy, saves wasted hours en route to work and can provide schedule flexibility. Also called flexplace and telecommuting, this arrangement is offered by 30% of employers, according to Hewitt Associates. About five million Americans work from home and over half of small businesses are home-based, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. But is it right for you?
1. Make Your Decision
As you consider the work-from-home approach:
Assess your job. Certain jobs simply require face-time; others can be accomplished remotely without missing a beat. Make a list of your responsibilities and brainstorm about how some or all could be completed from home. You may find a partial work-from-home arrangement is your best bet.
Assess your space. Depending on the nature of your job, you may need a quiet home office area with a separate phone line, appropriate wiring, and room for the basics: your work space, computer, printer, fax machine, daily materials, and ongoing files. Think through your work requirements and space at home. If you’re going to meet with clients, for example, a professional-looking work space is key unless you can schedule meetings at your local Starbucks.
Assess yourself. Working in your pajamas may initially sound like career nirvana, but think honestly about your personality and productivity. If you’d go crazy without the socialization of colleagues or you focus best with a manager down the hall, flexplace may not be ideal for you.
2. Make it Happen
Interested? You have two options: make a pitch to your management or look for a new job that offers work-from-home flexibility.
To make your pitch to management, start by writing a proposal that can’t be dismissed without serious consideration. Your challenge? Convincing your employer you can maintain productivity and consistent communication from home. Detail how your work can be accomplished between home and the office and strategies for keeping in touch. You could propose a partial work-from-home arrangement at first, starting with one or two days a week away from the office. After a few months, you could assess how things are going and potentially ramp up to additional days at home.
3. Make it Work
Ready to give it a shot? Depending on the nature of your position, you may need to go into the office occasionally for meetings and updates, and you’re expected to have childcare during your workdays at home. To be successful:
Give yourself space. Set up a work environment that’s conducive to getting the job done.
Create structure. You’re at home. By yourself. With no manager dropping by or colleagues looking over your shoulder to keep you on task. It can be really hard to stay focused. Try to minimize distractions by following a daily, prioritized to-do list, creating deadlines that keep you motivated, and trying to do the most dreaded things first.