Many people just assume that working from home is something that anyone can do once they make up their mind to do so. All it takes is finding the right job, set up a home office, and get started, right? Not even close! What happens is a lot more complicated than that and numerous people make the serious mistake of quitting their outside job only to find that working from home is nowhere near what they thought it was going to be. Therefore, it’s much safer to ask questions BEFORE you turn in your two week notice.
Yes, when you work from home, you DO get to work from your home office, your bedroom, or even your bed, if you like. You can wear jeans, sweats or your pajamas. It’s not necessary for you to dress up unless you’re having a video conference of some sort. If you’re freelance, you can pretty much set your own schedule. You can be there if your family needs you without having to get permission to leave a job early. Yes, all of these things are true—up to a point.
You may find there are other things that are also true. Your family may distract you so much that you find you cannot work in peace. Even though you can set your own work schedule, you’ll typically have deadlines that must be met. The part about being able to wear whatever you want is pretty much true, though, with no catches there.
Something else you may not be prepared for is just how much different you’re going to feel without anyone around to interact with. This doesn’t count any small children that you may have enthusiastically yanked from daycare because you’ll now be at home to care for them. You’ll most likely start to yearn for adult conversation.
Also, about those small children: You’re probably going to start scouting around for a daycare center that will take them on a part time basis because the only time you seem to be able to get any work done now is when they’re napping or at night after they’ve gone to sleep. Granted, you ARE now able to be home with them when they become ill, but the rest of the time, you’re finding it’s not as easy as you thought.
Depending on the type of work you’re doing, your home office may need to be a room where you have no outside noises, such as the family dog barking, your spouse calling to you for something, or children fighting loudly. This is something else that can be rather challenging. Neighbors seeing that you’re now at home can be another problem. They may assume that you’re no longer working and will drop by unexpectedly all day long.
You need to be prepared for the realities of working from home. If you are, chances are you’ll find a way to make it work and love it. If you happen to be single with no spouse or small children, disregard this article except for the missing human interaction part.