If you crave a more flexible work schedule or a nonexistent commute, working full-time or freelancing off-site is a great option. Although working remotely can be rewarding and exciting, it does present its own challenges. Here are a few things to consider about freelancing or full-time work off-site:
Is flexibility important? When you work off-site, it’s more likely you’ll be able to set your own schedule. If you need to watch the kids, you can take time off and finish your work later. If you prefer early morning or late evenings, you can get your work done then to run errands in the afternoon. Generally, it can offer a better work and life balance since you’re able to better determine how and when your work time is spent.
Can you manage your time well? Self-managing takes a lot of focus and discipline. It’s easy to get distracted at home. When you work from home, you’re expected to be responsible for finishing deadlines, even intense ones, without being managed by someone else. Consider whether you’re the kind of person who needs a supervisor or co-worker to help keep you on task, or if you feel your time management skills could use some improvement.
Do you want to save money? The cost of working adds up! Think of how much you spend per year on gas for your commute, lunches with co-workers, and appropriate business attire add up. When you work remotely, you can save money by not driving or eating at home. Even if you occasionally work from a coffee shop, you still will probably not end up spending as much as you might when you stop in for a latte every day on your morning commute. Also you may be able to claim some tax deductions on office supplies and tools you use like your Internet bill (see a tax specialist who can tell you more about this).
Is your workspace full of distractions? If you have small children at home, a needy pet, or other disturbances, your home workspace may make it hard for you to concentrate on your job. Then there’s your Netflix queue calling at 2pm when you want to procrastinate. Think about how you can separate yourself from your home and your home office, or if you’re able to set up shop in another workplace to create a distinction between work and home.
Do you prefer to work alone? Some people thrive in a group setting, while others prefer closed doors so they can focus on work. Some feel they get too distracted by others and others get too siloed on your own. Find out which one is best for your working style before you commit to working offsite.
Are you able to adapt quickly? Working from home, whether freelance or full-time, means you could be “on call” in the early morning or late evening. It depends on the job, but an expectation may be set that you’ll be able to answer emails any time you’re at home. Additionally, if you’re a freelancer, the needs of your clients can change drastically, so you have to be ready to support them. And for those working for a company full-time from home, their needs can change suddenly as well. Being able to adapt fast to new situation is key.
For those who enjoy working independently and have great time management skills, working remotely might be your next big move!