An estimated ten percent of U.S. employees now work from home, according to a survey by Stanford University (PDF). That number continues to grow as more and more people leave their job to start their own small business and also more and more companies are finding the value of remote workers.
Most people are under the assumption that working from home is easy. Whether you blog fulltime or work remotely for a larger company. But, while there are many advantages, there are also disadvantages and without a proper set up it can quickly lead to problems.
Remote workers can work from anywhere, with ease, with the right technology, no matter the type of work you are doing. The key to working from home is efficiency; it’s often difficult to separate work and personal life when the environment doesn’t change. That is why I try to leave my home office a few times a week, at minimum, to work. In fact, I highly suggest that if you do work from home you do take the time to work out of the house when possible, it’s good to avoid feeling isolated. Below are some tips for making that possible.
The Internet is the gateway to working remotely – whether you are in your home office or working out of a coffee shop on any given day. At home, a wireless set-up is important because that means you can work in any room of the house and use a tablet or laptop or perhaps a desktop. Most locations now offer free Wi-Fi so that is largely not an issue these days. But should there be an issue a MIFI connection, a name for wireless routers that act as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, can be an easy solution.
The Right Devices
Working remotely can involve the use of several different devices including a laptop, tablet and even a smartphone. Gone are the days of being chained to your desktop computer. With the right applications in place, such as DropBox or Skype, you can ensure that you have access to any file or meeting, as needed, no matter where you are or what device you are on for that matter.
Take for instance, you are working on a spreadsheet on your laptop but you don’t want to take your laptop with you to the coffee shop, but instead your tablet – if you use a program/app such as DropBox, as long as you upload it, you can access it from any device which is a huge benefit and time saver.
Designated Work Area
This is where there can be disadvantages, not everyone has the luxury of a standard home office. Nonetheless it is important to designate an area of the home as yours where you can keep all your work stuff without it being disturbed. Alternatively, when working in a coffee shop or bookstore, if your type of work permits, items such as earphones are largely helpful so that you can drown out the background noise while you work.
The other pitfall to working from home is making your friends and family understand that you are indeed working and are not available for all day chats or to run errands. Working remotely can be a great experience if you take the time to set it up right.
Belinda Lima is a freelance writer for various websites. She graduated from the University of Texas with her Graduate degree in Creative Writing and now uses her word smith talents and her love of technology to write about a variety of social media, consumer electronics, and mobile accessories topics in her articles.