Working From Home

by Barbara Buffton

What kind of person best suits home-working?

Home-working is not appropriate for everyone. Is it for you? Try the questionnaire to find out what kind of person you need to be.

The questionnaire illustrates the kind of personality traits and skills that a home worker should have ideally. Here they are in more detail.

  • Self-motivation. Without the structure of getting up and going into the office, you have to create your own motivation to get up and ‘go to work’.
  • Working without supervision. Your line manager isn’t going to be as available as in an office environment. You’re going to have to self-manage a lot more.
  • Good organisation and time management skills. This is much more important when you are working from home because of the closeness of other distractions and calls on your time.
  • Being proactive. As you are remote from the office and your line manager, you need to be proactive in terms of contacting people and following up actions. You know what they say – ‘out of sight, out of mind’!
  • Working on your own for long periods of time. There are going to be times when you have little or no social contact. If you don’t like this aspect of home-working, then you need to think about how you will cope with it. Maybe being more proactive will help (see the point above).
  • Commitment to work. You need to have the dedication to meet targets and deadlines, despite difficulties, distractions and interruptions.
  • Separating work and home life. It is as important to be able to stop work and give quality time to yourself and others as it is to get started in the first place when other things or people are demanding your attention.
  • Commitment to data security. Data security and confidentiality are even more important when you work away from the office, particularly if others are free to enter your workspace at home.
  • Self-discipline. Some people have the self-discipline to ignore distractions and stay focused; some can go with the distractions as they occur and then make up work time later; others will let the distractions take over and never finish the work. However, most home workers find they get more done at home than they do in the office because there are fewer distractions!
  • Taking advantage of the flexible lifestyle. If you can take advantage of a more flexible lifestyle and still get the work done, you could benefit from a sense of more fulfilment and feel less stressed. You could benefit from working outside (made easier with mobile phones and wireless connections), taking a break when the children need picking up from school or working around an exercise class.

The beauty is that it’s your choice how and when you get your work done, although you might need to check certain parameters with your line manager first.