So many of us have a dream to work from home.
However, it’s not always for everyone. Some people can’t work from home all the time — or even at all.
Here’s how to tell if you’re cut out to work from home:
How Much Social Interaction Do You Prefer?
First of all, think about how much social interaction you like. If you like speaking with people, in real life, throughout the day, working from home might not be the best choice for you.
Do you spend a lot of time with coworkers? Do you like collaborating in person? If so, you might not get the social interaction you crave when working from home.
On the other hand, if you are comfortable working on your own, it might be a good fit to work from home. Perhaps you have other social outlets that allow you to get that social interaction without the need to engage as much with your coworkers.
As long as you can be an effective part of your team at a distance, working from home can provide opportunities for you to be more productive, whether you decide to freelance or work for a company.
When you do work from home, though, realize you need to be responsive in other ways. You might need to learn how to use tools like Slack and Zoom. You may need to engage in video conferencing and phone calls.
Working from home doesn’t automatically mean you don’t see anyone. Gauge how well you answer emails and manage other collaborations. If you can still keep up, and you don’t need the in-person social interaction, go ahead and work from home.
Be Real About Your Self-Discipline and Motivation
When you work from home, self-discipline is the key to productivity. You need to be motivated to get to work and accomplish what you say you will.
As a freelancer, this sometimes working when I don’t feel like it so I meet a deadline. For remote work, you also need to consider whether you will stay on task — without a supervisor looking over your shoulder the whole time.
Look at how you perform when you don’t have to. Do you procrastinate too much? Do you need to have a hard deadline to keep working?
While it’s nice to work from home because you can set your own schedule to a large degree, you still need to be able to get yourself up and moving. I might be able to go to the spa for four hours on a Wednesday, but I still need to get work done — and sometimes that means having the self-discipline to work on the weekend or evenings.
Think about whether or can stay motivated and avoid distractions at your home. If you can stay organized and stay on track without being in the office, and if you can meet your deadlines without having someone constantly checking up on you, you might be suited to work from home.
Think about what makes sense for you. Be honest with yourself, and only work from home if you know you can handle it. If you’re not sure, try remote work a couple times a week, or consider going to a coworking space to see if having a work environment helps.
Take it for a test run, and if things go well, go full-time from home.