I’ve had my fair share of “you’re so lucky you work from home!” comments a few months back when I worked as a writer for a fashion website based in Singapore.
Nothing’s wrong with that kind of envy but I felt a bit (promise, just a bit) offended with that kind of sentiment. It felt like I was doing an “easy” job–like I didn’t stress out with writer’s block and deadlines. Well, truth be told, I did. And even if I had total control of how I’ll manage my tasks, I still had a hard time, just like any normal employee working in an office from 9am-6pm.
With that said, my first point is that it won’t be as easy as you imagine it would be. It’s physically easy because you can literally work from your bed without taking a shower, dressing up, and commuting to your office. In terms of the actual workload, it’s just the same. It may even be more than usual because you’re not in a physical office and you’re talking to everyone via skype or email. Trust me, writing emails and having skype meetings will eat up your time. If you’re about to get a job that is based at your own home, you have to be ready for the workload ahead and for the fact that it’s only YOU who will be working on those certain tasks.
I was lucky enough to have a supervisor to keep me in track with my deadlines per day. But understand that most work-at-home jobs (such as freelance writers and designers) work directly with a client and just set a certain deadline for you to meet. Since you handle your own time, you may be tempted to not do it right away. Exercise discipline and set personal deadlines so you can track your progress and not end up cramming.
The best part for me was the fact that I was able to save more money. Since I technically had no food, clothing, and commute expenses, I was able to save a huge chunk of my money (on most days 😉 ). For me that’s the main perk of working at home. If this is your priority, go ahead!
In relation to what I said in #3, the only thing you do have to spend on is blazing fast wifi connection, which is sadly still nonexistent here in the Philippines. It would be best if you check with your employer/client first if your wifi is fast enough or ask beforehand if there’s a required speed (yes, I’ve seen this criterium in job ads). Once you’ve got this locked in place, communicating will be a breeze.
I’ve been guilty in working in my pajamas (and even not taking a bath) countless times because let’s face it, no one will see you anyway! However, if you do this frequently, your system will get used to the laziness and it might become your habit. Not physically preparing for work properly (even if it is at home) also has a psychological effect on your overall performance. Fight the lazy behavior and set yourself on work mode once it’s time to do your tasks.
My first job was a work at home job, which means I lacked most of the government requirements needed because our employer didn’t ask for it. (I know, my fault) You have to complete your requirements and go through the motions of changing your status at the BIR, SSS offices and such because you NEED to pay your taxes. Whether you like it or not, it’s the law and you should abide. Pay it faithfully every month, even if it’s just for a clean conscience.
More often than not you will be working with a foreigner, some of which have distinct accents that you can barely understand their English. It will take a bit of getting used to but one tip you can hold on to is this: always clarify. Clarify if they understood you and clarify if you understood them by saying a bullet-point summary of what they just said at the end of the conversation. This would save you a lot of time and effort as you minimize error in the communication stage.
If you’re thinking of a getting a work-at-home job, remember these points before taking the plunge. Let me know if you have more to add in the comments below!