Wanna Work from Home?
If you want to successfully work from home, you'll need some basic tools before starting and a great mindset.
Working from home is all the rage nowadays. It’s a growing trend that embraces the ‘alternative work space.’
Although estimates vary widely, some 30 million to 40 million people in the United States are now either telecommuters or home-based workers. - HBR.ORG
Why The Change?
The most apparent reason that so many companies and business are offering more work from home opportunities is the reduction of overhead cost for the company.
Think about it.
If the employees are working from home, they do not have to pay for an office space. Some companies hire work from home help as independent contractors. Therefore, the business no longer must supply computers, desks, work chairs or the coffee machine in the employee break room.
There are some other reasons work from home employees and contractors are attractive to businesses.
Businesses with work from home teams tend to have happier and more productive people working for them. The turnover rate happens to be lower, too. Likely because of the flexibility that work from home offers and well…who doesn’t like to take care of business in their jammies?
Should I work from home?
I’ve been working from home in various positions of customer support since 2013. It’s been an amazing journey and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had working from home for the world.
Everyone is always asking me, "How do you work from home? What do you need to work from home? How do I get started working from home?"
One thing that I’ve learned is that working from home is NOT for everyone and there are a few key skills you should have and definitely a certain mindset.
You should work from home if you have self-discipline.
Just because you may not have a set schedule doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create one for yourself. Yes, you may be afforded some extra flexibility but don’t take advantage of it in the wrong ways.
You should work from home if you’re self-motivated.
You’re in charge of your tasks and making sure you’re getting them done. I’ve come across people who think working from home is going to be easy peasy and somehow less strenuous than a job at a brick and mortar.
It’s still a job and you still have to perform your job duties and do the same above and behind ish that you would do at a physical office.
You should work from home if you are a problem solver.
In corporate, you can call in the cavalry if you have tech issues or need immediate help.
Work from home…not so much.
You should be comfortable looking for solutions to issues on your own. Just remember, Google kinda knows everything and if all else fails, someone on YouTube knows the solution and will show you how to fix it!
You should work from home if you’re OK with not having the ‘’office camaraderie’’ you get at a brick and mortar.
Since you’ll be home, you miss out on the things we get used to at the office, like that little bit of gossip, that ‘surprise that was not a surprise’ birthday cake and the awkward holiday parties.
I would like to mention that more and more businesses are trying to engage their work from home teams by implementing virtual chats among teams, hosting incentive challenges and making opportunities for on site interaction more common!
I’m all the above….What else do I need to work from home?
Let’s start with the basics.
Dedicated Work Space
If you have a room that can be converted to a home office, great! If not, at least have a desk in a quiet area that you can work uninterrupted.
I don’t have an extra room so where my desk is at varies depending on what time of the year it is.
During the school year, my set up is in our den since the kids are gone during my working hours. During summer vacation, I move my whole operation to the bedroom for some peace and quiet.
- Make sure your work space and desk is clutter free. Having a clean work area helps boost focus and productivity!
- Invest in a comfy desk chair. You’ll be spending a lot of time there!
You’ll be doing a lot on your device so you’ll want to make sure it’s up to the task.
At my current job, I require people on my team to have a laptop/desktop that is 2 years old or less with at least 2-3 GB RAM. Having a Windows Operating System is also a requirement. There are a few places that allow MAC OS but be sure to check before applying.
If needed, you can always download BOOTCAMP which installs the Windows OS on your Mac.
- I find that keyboards with the number pad to the right make life so much easier!
- Get an external mouse if you’re using a laptop. You’ll thank me later!
- Invest in some virus and spyware protection software. I use Norton Security Deluxe by Symantec. Sometime, they have a promotion to purchase the annual protection for $29.99 and it covers 5 devices.
If you’re applying somewhere, check the minimum requirements for internet speeds. You’ll want at least 3-5 megabits from a reliable internet provider.
You’ll need to have the capability to hard wire into your internet modem. Most work at home positions prohibit the use of WiFi.
Oh and no satellite or dial up.
- Check your internet speed anywhere with SpeedTest.Net
A Dedicated Landline Phone
Some work from home positions require you to use a phone and won’t allow personal calls on that line. So keep that in mind when applying and if you don’t have a landline, check the cost of adding that to your budget before applying or accepting a position.
You’ll need a headset that can be used with your land line if you’re gonna be truly comfy. Panasonic has a good one that is affordable and highly recommended.
You may want to also grab a USB headset for your device in case you have to attend virtual meetings or listen to training videos online.
Maybe the position you applied for did not require a landline?
If you’ll be speaking to customers but don't need a landline, that means the calls will be made using a soft-phone application and in that case, you’ll definitely need the USB headset.
I’ve been using one from Platronics for a couple years and it’s one I recommend to everyone on my team!
- Whatever headset you decide to get…make sure you have a mute button. It will be your best friend.
If you think you’ve got all the bases covered, I’d say jump into the work from home market and get the flexibility and work life balance that is waiting on the other side!
If you’re not sure where to get started applying, I can email you a list of companies that frequently hire at home positions!