You've finally found the perfect telecommuting position, which promises to bring you one step closer to that ever-elusive work life balance. Now that you'll be working from home, you think, you'll be able to accomplish everything that you couldn't when you worked your 9-5 office job. However, working from home is just that -- work -- and it can be a challenge at times. Read on to see what other work from home myths there are and what the reality truly is.
To an extent, it is true that a flex schedule is, well, flexible. But it's only flexible to a certain extent. Depending on the type of job you have, you will most likely be required to keep some sort of semi-regular schedule. That way, your boss and colleagues can know, more or less, when you are working and when they can contact you. This benefits you as well, because if you work an erratic schedule with scattered hours, the inconsistency can negatively affect your productivity.
It makes sense -- you'll be home so now you can sneak in some work while watching Thomas the Tank Engine with your two-year-old. Before your bid your babysitter adieu, imagine how it would be if you brought your child to the office and tried to work. Would you still get the same amount of work accomplished? Probably not. So even though you will be home -- or even toiling away in the next room -- you'll need to have some sort of childcare in place (either by putting your child in daycare, hiring a sitter, or doing a babysitting swap with some of your friends) so that you can have the time and energy to focus on work.
The reality is that the dirty dishes you left in the sink at breakfast will most likely be waiting for you come dinnertime. When you telecommute, the hours fly by, and all those grand organizational projects will fall by the wayside as you try to complete your work before your kid comes home from Kindergarten.
In many ways, telecommuting makes life a lot easier. It eliminates the time (and expense) of a commute. After you get the kids on the school bus, your workday can commence immediately. But working from home requires an extensive amount of self-discipline. After all, you can't spend the first few hours of your workday clicking and commenting on your friends' vacation photos on Facebook. Unlike working in a traditional office where your boss could check up on you (and keep you in check), you'll need to be highly organized, motivated and focused in order to successfully work from home.
At first, being able to work quickly and quietly without incessant interruptions from chatty colleagues will seem like a dream. After a few weeks, though, you'll find yourself running to the supermarket just so you can chat up the produce guy. Telecommuting can be isolating, so you'll have to maintain connections to your other colleagues in lieu of face-to-face conversations.
Despite the many myths surrounding telecommuting, working from home can be a hugely rewarding experience for many people. Know the facts so that way you can decide if a telecommuting position makes sense for you, your family and your career.
Jennifer Parris is the Career Writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Jennifer, visit FlexJobs.com or tweet @flexjobs.
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