When you’re rushing from the office to get to daycare on time, or wishing you could find a couple more hours to spend as a family, working from home can seem like a dream. But according to Lisa Taylor, president of The Challenge Factory
, a Toronto-based organization that looks at how demographics impact employment, working from home is a reality for an increasing number of parents.
But what form that work takes depends on your current employer and your marketable skills set, as well as your needs and personality.
Here are some factors to bear in mind before you hang up your work-at-home shingle. 10 tips for making a successful career change What do you need?
In her work with clients, Taylor starts off with what she calls “the sweet spot methodology” to help match goals to actions.
1. Ask yourself what you need, such as ideal amount of time at home and salary requirements.
2. Determine your talents —including innate talents, not just workplace skills.
3. Consider what you care about.
4. Ask yourself what impact you want your work to have.
Can you fulfill these four needs with some amount of working from home? If yes, it’s time to move forward. How to spruce up your home office What do they need?
“Over the last five to 10 years, our economy has changed,” says Taylor. “As a result, we’ve moved more strongly into a freelance economy.” That more flexible workforce coupled with technology means there are opportunities to farm out your professional skills to a variety of interested employers who don’t need full-time permanent staff in every role. 13 best employers according to Canadian Living readers What freelance positions should you consider?
“Look at knowledge work,” says Taylor, “such things as assisting with research and researchers, and being an executive assistant. Think of different areas within a company and think of the behind-the-scenes work.”
1. Marketing, including outbound calls or managing social media accounts
2. Finance, including book keeping and invoicing
3. Event planning, including coordinating events and seminars
4. Customized work, including ongoing research, surveys, customer satisfaction followup What works for you?
Determine the structure you need to excel. Are you a super-motivated self-starter who works best on her own? Are you energized by swapping ideas in brainstorming sessions with colleagues? Or are you somewhere in the middle?
Depending on your best work style, Taylor suggests that one of the following arrangements might suit you. 1. Self-employed:
If you’ve got a great idea, know how to pull it off and are highly motivated, consider embracing your inner entrepreneur and see where it takes you. 2. Support the self-employed:
“It’s discussed a lot that people should be entrepreneurs,” says Taylor, “but that’s not suited for everyone. You can have an entrepreneurial spirit versus actually founding a company.” In which case, you might have the right temperament to work from home for an entrepreneur. 3. Shop out your skills:
Are you amazing at marketing, event planning, writing, designing or any other number of in-demand skills? Being a freelancer and working from home on individual projects for a variety of companies might be the right choice for you. 4. Get flex time:
Does your current role really require in-person or face-to-face time, all day, every day? Speak to your manager about working from home a couple of days a week. “If you’re self directed and can maintain focus,” says Taylor, “you can be incredibly productive. For some, being at home and not having colleagues walking by means they accomplish in five hours what takes eight hours at the office.”
If you do make the leap to the home office, don’t be surprised if there are some things you miss from your corporate life. As Taylor warns, “Working at home can be isolating, so for most people, the biggest challenge is maintaining connections. Make sure you have exchanges with people to balance out that time working on your own.” Read more:
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