Work from Home - Do you have what it takes?

Ask most office-bound people if they would like to do their work from home and they will jump at the chance.

No more commuting in rush hour traffic. No more being told what to do and when to do it. No more inter-office politics or bickering. It sounds like heaven!

But those who have the opportunity to work from home would tell you that it's not just a case of taking home the files or uploading your work onto the company's server, it can involve a change of lifestyle.

For instance, have a good look around your home. Is there a space that you can convert into your 'office' space? Do you have the necessary equipment? We take our offices very much for granted with computers, photocopiers, fax machine, printers, filing cabinets, storage etc. If not, you will need to make sure that you have the space for everything you need to work from home effectively.

And, just because you're working from home, it doesn't mean that there will be less work. So, one of the most important changes that you will face is that you will have to learn how to discipline yourself in an environment that is normally your place of relaxation and family.

The idea of rolling out of bed and strolling to your 'work' for a couple of hours may sound appealing but sitting at your desk in pyjamas, shorts & t-shirt or scruffy jeans without bothering to shower, shave or do your hair will quickly alienate you mentally from your professional colleagues. In order to make a success out of working from home, you will need to create an office space in your mind as well as your home.

Of course, there are advantages other than the lack of commuting. Who amongst us don't like to turn the telly on for that special tennis match, or a special football game, Ashes tour, even the odd afternoon soap, but don't normally get the chance when we're at the office. To work from home means that the temptation to leave the desk for a couple of hours to watch that programme, or have an extended lunch, perhaps take the kids out swimming, all have to be overcome if we are going to get our work done.

Let's face it, there are dozens of things that take up our time when we're at home that, if we were in the office, we just wouldn't do, so why should it be any different if we work from home?

The answer? Attitude.

For this to work successfully you have to develop the right mentality. Ask any successful work at home mum or network marketer and they will tell you that they have their day planned down to the last minute. Time management is an artform that you will need to work at. You will soon find out whether you have the self-discipline to make it work. Time off in the afternoon means that you have to catch up either earlier or later in the day. Long telephone conversations with friends means that you have to catch up. Constant interruptions from your partner or children means that you have to catch up.

Don't forget too, that in the office there is usually a lot of activity and interraction with colleagues. Do you like your own company for hours and hours on end? Work at home can sometimes be lonely. Make sure that you allow for this.

Work from home is just what it says on the tin. It has many advantages, but carries with it the temptation to be lax. Trade-offs and sacrifices will have to be made. Do you have what it takes?


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