The virtues of working from home are being heralded from brownstone basements to roving RVs.  For many it represents the ultimate work/life balance option.  Less commuting.  More flexibility.  An opportunity to join a global workforce.

But working remotely isn’t for everyone.  And if you’ve never worked from home before it can present unforeseen challenges. Successful remote workers possess fundamental work habits that generate the required productivity and performance outcomes that lead to greater job satisfaction. 

So, before you make that leap to remote work, ask yourself these questions:

Am I self-motivated?

Your performance will be evaluated largely on your productivity. Supervisors won’t “see” how hard you are working. If you perform best with daily check-ins from your supervisor, an occasional rally call to action or other external motivators such as recognition among your co-workers, then working remotely might not be the right choice for you. 

Am I disciplined?

Even remote jobs adhere to schedules and deadlines. Solid time management skills are essential for the remote worker. When you work from home it’s more difficult to establish clear boundaries between work and personal time. Whether you have the luxury of creating your own schedule or adhere to the traditional 9-5 workday it’s easy to find yourself checking emails and working on projects after hours when your job is at arms’ length. You need to establish boundaries between work and personal time to avoid burnout. 

Am I easily distracted?

The distractions are endless. Laundry, your kids, your neighbors, your pets. Disruptions can easily deter you from giving your full attention to your job. With no one around to discourage you from giving in, you could find yourself underperforming. Successful remote workers establish firm parameters for themselves and others to stay focused on the job. 

Am I a good communicator?

Remote workers rely much more on written communications.  This means it’s critical to be able to explain yourself clearly and with the right tone or “voice”. And while there may be Zoom calls for 1:1 or group discussions,  you’re most likely going to be using project management tools like Trello, Google Docs and Slack to collaborate with your team, stay connected to your colleagues and update your supervisors.  If embracing new and evolving software is not something you relish, then remote work may not be for you. 

Do I enjoy working alone?

If you thrive on social interaction, working alone can be difficult to adjust to. People who are energized when they’re around others may experience feelings of loneliness or isolation when working remotely. Even if you do thrive on working solo you may need to work hard to engage with your fellow colleagues so that you are not perceived as unfriendly or unapproachable. 

Whether remote work is a short-term or long-term option for you, visit job boards like WeWorkRemotely and FlexJobs for additional information to see if remote work is a good fit for you. 

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