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How do I Work at Home?

By Ron Marr
Updated: Jan 24, 2024

The idea of working at home was once restricted to artisans and artists; those who could handcraft a product, write, paint, or sculpt. Such is no longer the case. Due to enhanced technology and the ever-increasing presence of the internet, work at home jobs now exist in abundance. If you are considering working at home, however, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration. You must possess a marketable talent, self-discipline, the right tools, and the ability to function without close supervision or feedback.

First, working at home is not a good choice for those who either desire or require a high degree of social interaction. In most cases you will be working alone, and must avoid the temptation to put off until tomorrow what must be done today. It is a good choice for those who seek part-time work or a bit of extra income. It is true than many individuals do choose to work at home as a full-time career, but following this course requires extreme dedication, the ability to multi-task, and a strong desire for personal freedom.

If you have an attitude suitable to successfully working at home, then you would be wise to invest in a landline phone, up-to-date computer, and a high-speed internet link. You should also set up a specific workspace in your home, and keep it free of clutter and non-work related items. Working at home is best accomplished if you continue to function as if you were going to a regular nine-to-five job. You are now wearing the hats of employer, supervisor, and employee, and need to set certain rules and guidelines.

Some people find it helpful to begin work at the same time each day, while others are capable of altering their hours as circumstances dictate. It is also good to set up a daily “to-do” list of tasks that must be accomplished before your workday ends. You should take periodic breaks, just as you would at a traditional job. Take a lunch hour and make sure to leave the house a few times each day, even if just for 10 or 15 minutes. This will prevent burnout, and will aid greatly in keeping your focus on the tasks at hand.

Working at home should be approached in very similar manner to working in an office. If you are telecommuting for a large firm, or are on a salary, you will have pre-defined jobs and a relatively low stress level. If you are a work at home freelancer, the opposite is true. If you fall into the latter category, you should be constantly looking for new opportunities, as it is not unusual for the work at home freelancer to serve as an independent contractor for a half dozen or more companies.

This means that you will need to keep track of billing, invoices, and expenses. Often it may seem that there are simply not enough hours in the day, but it is critical that you take the time to clean the house, walk the dog, spend time with your family, and get plenty of sleep. Remember that you made this leap to enhance your life. When the workday is done, simple close your office door and take part in those activities you enjoy.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Nov 07, 2014

I am a people person, and I would be totally out of sorts trying to work at home. I love my family and home, but work allows me to get a needed break from both.

By Laotionne — On Nov 06, 2014

The company I work for started a work at home program a couple of years ago that allowed some of its workers to work one day a week at home. Much of our work is dealing with paperwork, so most of it can be done at home anyway if you have a computer and phone.

The idea behind the new program was that it would save the worker and the company money. The company would save money because there would be fewer people using electricity, paper, water and whatever things we employees use that costs the company money.

We the employees saved by not having to commute to work and not having to go out and buy lunch. The best part for me was getting to sleep in late and not being in a stressful setting.

Unfortunately, this program ended after a few months because many of the workers were not getting as much work done on the days they worked from home. And I was one of those workers not getting as much done. When I worked from home, it would always be around noon before I sat down to get to work, and by then it was almost lunchtime, and I couldn't catch up.

By Sporkasia — On Nov 05, 2014

I could not agree more with what this article says in the final paragraph about a freelancer who works from home needing to be sure to take time to do other activities not related to work. I am a freelance worker, and I used to work more and more hours in an attempt to do more work and make more money. I have since learned that the two do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.

I found that the more I worked the less productive I became. After so many hours a day and so many days in a row I need a break. I learned that I get more done when I take weekends off and have fun instead of trying to get in another day or two of work.

Sure I get more done when I work seven days, but then the following week I am usually burned out by Wednesday, and I accomplish way less than I should. In general, a well defined and steady pace wins the race.

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