Are you made for teleworking?


If you’re sick of working in an office from 9 am to 5 pm or have day dreamed about branching out on your own, you’re hardly alone. The answer to this may lie in teleworking. And it’s pretty much looking like the future.

Consider this survey published by Mashable from collaboration software company Wrike. 83% of respondents said they work remotely at least part of the day. Add to that a report from Smart Company telling us that more Australians are starting online businesses in the face of economic pressures. On top of that, government figures show that nearly 1 million people run a business from home.

Teleworking would certainly appeal to workers who hate the daily commute, who want to get away from office politics or have kids at home. The thought of sleeping in an extra half an hour, working in your pyjamas and escaping the daily rat race sounds all too lovely.

However, this may come as a surprise but telecommuting or working from home may not suit everyone. Depending on the personality and work ethics, some may get distracted or lack the discipline to get things done on their own. As good as the prospect sounds, ask yourself whether you can really be efficient when left to your own devices.

What’s your personality?

Gwen Darling identifies the sorts of people who shouldn’t be working from home in The Examiner. According to Gwen, these include people who are social butterflies or slackers who are chronically disorganized.

Anyone who has worked in an office knows all about these types. These people are constantly taking up your time with inanities. But try getting them into a conversation and they’re all over the place. When you talk to them, you quickly learn that they have trouble focusing. They always seem to need something to keep them in line. They are definitely not suited for working from home which requires total discipline.

Meanwhile, Silvia Fortin at The workahaolics4hire site paints an interesting picture on those who should work from home. You should possess one or all of these traits: self-motivated, perfectionist, optimist and somewhat obsessive compulsive.

“When you have the above set of personality quirks, you definitely are well-equipped to handle the difficult times. Not only will you be able to handle the stages when you don’t have projects to work on, you will also be able to handle the projects as they happen,’’ she writes.

I would add one more condition to this. From my experience working from home, you need to have a high threshold for anxiety. Disaster happens all the time and you need to adapt to things that go wrong, if they go wrong. Worrying about something that may never happen only wastes time and adds to your stress level.

In summary, you need to be able to set up a daily structure and work around distractions (e.g. phone calls from marketers in India, barking dogs, and the occasional modem meltdown). You should also be comfortable working on your own without a desk mate to chat to occasionally.

If you can also plan your personal life out of the way (e.g. children or partner at home) during working hours and have the necessary equipment and workspace, then teleworking would be right for you.

Are you working from home or planning to? How do you think you’ll manage?

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