Time-consuming commutes, office distractions, rising gas prices, plus family and personal commitments keep many of us longing to working from home. According to a Ipsos/Reuters poll from this year, about one in five global workers telecommute frequently and nearly 10 percent work from home every day.
While telecommuting is the ideal situation for many people, it isn't the perfect fit for everyone. Read on to determine if you'd thrive working from home, or if you'd be better off sticking to the office.
1. You're easily distracted. If you think working out of a home office will give you ample time to catch up on housework, it's probably not a good fit. It's easy to get caught up in washing the dishes or getting prepared for the weekend festivities, but it doesn't help you get your work done. Likewise, if working from home tempts you to run endless errands or catch up on your favorite TV series, your employer probably won't be happy with the drop in productivity.
2. You need others to motivate you. Working from home can be lonely, especially if you're the social butterfly in the office. Pay attention to how you feel most productive. If you feel more energized when you hear and have contact with others, and you like having the flexibility of a drop-in meeting with your teammates or your manager, being quarantined by yourself at home may be challenging.
3. You need to be there in person. Not every job is ideal for work-at-home situations. Many jobs require you to put in face time. If your job requires you to interact with on-site customers throughout the day, working at home probably isn't an option.
4. Your boss is a micromanager. While this certainly isn't your preference, how your boss manages her staff can affect your ability to telecommute. If she needs to be hands-on and constantly involved in what you're doing, like it or not, she's probably not going to agree to sending you home to work.
5. Your environment is distracting. If you don't have a dedicated, private area for your home office or if you have small children at home with you and limited childcare, there's a good chance you won't be able to get as much work done as you would in the office. Be fair when assessing the work environment you can create at home; if it's not conducive to getting work done during your work hours, you'll find yourself frustrated and unproductive.
6. You don't have the technology. Your ability to work from home successfully will depend on your technology requirements to do your job. If you need special equipment to complete tasks on a regular basis, it makes more sense to work out a flexible schedule with your employer instead of trying to telecommute.
7. You like your office and co-workers. Working in an office isn't always a drawback, especially if you get along well with your co-workers. In fact, studies show that having solid support at work from the people you work with may add years to your life. So if working in the office isn't a drag, you may even get to reap the health benefits.
8. You don't know how to stop at the end of the day. If you're working in an office, it's easier to transition to quitting time once you walk through the door and start your commute home. You can easily find yourself working way more time than necessary if you can't discipline yourself to disconnect.
9. You lack focus. If you have trouble getting organized on what you need to do in a given day, working at home, alone, might make that more of a challenge. The energy and in-person contact with others on the job will help you focus on the task at hand.
10. The lines blur between work and home life. It is entirely possible to work from home and only be less available to the family. If having all of your work down the hallway is too much of a temptation, you might check your email or finish assignments when you should spend quality time with the family.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.