Is Working from Home Right for You? Part 1

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Photo courtesy of DaVinciS

In previous articles, I discussed various aspects of what it takes to succeed as a freelance editor. Since working from home is really what makes freelancing work, it only makes sense to have a very frank talk about the realities—the pros and cons—of what “homework” looks like.

Working from home—or telecommuting, as many call it—isn’t for everyone, but it may be a big blessing for you if you have the right personality and circumstances working for you. In this and future posts, I address some pros and cons I’ve learned over the last seven years that may help you decide whether working from home is right for you.

Social Scenarios

I work in a basement home office a good twelve to thirteen hours each workday (with some weekend hours). In fact, several days typically go by before I even leave my house. Yes, I do take a lunch break and a good number of standing/bathroom/snack breaks, but that’s a lot of time in my office. In my chair. All by myself.

Cons: If you’re a social butterfly, this job may not be for you. I used to work with a department staff of four to six people. Now I’m by myself, and yes, the job is sometimes lonely, though Facebook breaks help.

You rarely see the people you work for. For that reason, communication via e-mail can be a weak point, and relationships may suffer. A client may never tell you what’s wrong; he or she may simply decide to stop sending you work. This is a grim reality about telecommuting: clients would invest more in the relationship if your office was across the hall. Because relationships are shallow, severing the tie is so easy.

Pros: Every day I get to see and interact with my wife and daughters at lunch and when I take bathroom or drink/snack breaks. It’s wonderful to be near my family, even if I don’t have time to interact much during “work hours.”

Sometimes my girls drop by with a snack surprise and hugs. Sometimes my beagle naps in my wingback chair. If my wife needs to get groceries or take the dog to the vet, she has an instant baby-sitter.

Though I very rarely meet the people I work for, I’ve had few work complications due to relational difficulties. And if communication is a problem, really, there are so many ways to connect face-to-face now. Consider a Skype call or Google Hangout.

When I get my work done and am ahead on my deadlines, I can work on my next novel.

If you tend to be a hermit, working from home could be a nice fit.

Social media help me feel more connected to others when I tend to feel disconnected.

That’s it for today. I’ll talk about more pros and cons in future articles.

Is working from home right for you? You decide. At this phase of my life, it’s a great fit for me.

Have any questions? Shoot them my way.

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