Freelancing is a great way to try out working from home if you have never had a full-time remote job before.If you are currently working on location at an organization and would like to explore your work at home options, freelancing can be an excellent way to test the waters. You can start with just one small job and work your way up.
You've likely heard of this option before but may not know many details about this remote career path.Below are some fast facts about freelancing — each fact could be considered a pro or a con, depending on what you value.
As a freelancer you work as an independent contractor, not an employee.
Since you're not an employee at one organization, you can complete work for multiple clients.
One of the criteria that the IRS uses to determine if you are an independent contractor is if you are required to work according to...
When you work in an office, opportunities to connect with coworkers happen naturally. They can happen on your way into the office, when you're using the office kitchen, or when you stop by a coworker's space to ask a question. When you work on a remote team, it can seem that you don't have those same types of opportunities. However, you can build a remote work culture — it just takes more intentional planning than you would need if the whole team worked in the same physical space.
The key to creating a culture in which your team feels connected is to establish company-wide expectations and processes that support those connections. When your team understands the importance of connecting, both personally and professionally, they are more likely to initiate those connections on their own.
Communication, as always, is king. Have clear expectations of the channels, content, frequency of company communication. Trust only happens when...
Networking is important, even if you work remotely. Not only does it expose you to professional opportunities, it also helps you establish and cultivate important relationships that can help you navigate your career. But networking can be tough — even more so if you work from home because you're not in the habit of constant interaction. Here are some networking tips on how you can cultivate an active and supportive professional network if you work from home.
Basically, there are three networking channels you have when working remotely:
Do you have skills you want to work on? Goals you'd like to achieve? We all do. But: do you have a personalized professional development plan that incorporates all those goals into an achievable learning path? If not, you should consider creating one.
Professional development is the act of learning in order to gain skills or credentials necessary to succeed in the workplace. There are formal and structured professional development opportunities like academic degrees and certification programs. But it can also include informal or more unstructured learning experiences like video series, and reading texts related to your industry.
While the steps seem straightforward, there are some challenges that come with personalized professional development:
It might sound counterintuitive, but face-to-face conferences can be an important component of your remote career. Remote work conferences offer opportunities for you to network and to learn about important issues related to distance work. Additionally, surrounding yourself with new people and ideas can energize you, boost your creativity, and keep you from feeling isolated.
While there aren't that many conferences that are solely dedicated to the benefits and challenges of location independent work, the four remote work conferences listed below are excellent places to start.
One example of a remote work conference is the TRaD Works forum, being held this week (September 27-29) in Washington, DC. TRaD stands for Telecommuting, Remote, and Distributed work, and the forum will feature speakers from a wide range of backgrounds. Some of the featured speakers include:
Think about your regular work schedule. How many long stretches of work do you do? Do you take any breaks? When was the last time you took a lunch break away from your desk? If you rarely do so, you're not alone. If I asked you why, I'm sure I would hear this reason: I'm too busy.
Yes, you are busy. But here's the catch 22: by not taking breaks, you're not as productive as you would be if you did.
If you work from home, you're just as likely to skip taking a break. This is due to a couple of reasons: You want to prove that you're not shirking your work or you believe that you don't need a break because you work from home. But both of these justifications are wrong.
Here are just some of the negative impacts of skipping your break.
If you use your creativity in any capacity, skipping your break can be directly and seriously detrimental to your productivity.
A mentor can be someone within your organization or outside your organization who helps you navigate your career. That's kind of a broad definition, but in reality, there's an extremely wide variety of types of mentors. That's why the first step is:
What do you want? Do you need someone within your organization to help you figure out how to advance? Or do you want someone who is in your industry, but outside your organization, to give you perspective? Are you looking for advice from someone who has arrived at the very top of an organization? Or do you need advice from someone who is a little closer to your particular situation?
Consider all of these questions, plus think about how you want to communicate with your mentor. Since you are searching for someone who can help navigate a remote career, make sure that someone has experience working (and advancing) remotely.
Now it's time to find someone who meets your needs. Create a list of all the...
You’ve applied to the remote job of your dreams, and it finally arrives: a message saying you’ve been granted an interview. Congratulations!
But now, you're wondering: what the interview will be like? How can I make a great impression on the hiring committee?
I’ve brought in a guest to share some tips for how to do just that: Carole Stizza of Relevant Insight. She’s an expert in HR and hiring practices and consults with individuals on how to improve their interviewing skills.
Carole's responses to some common questions about interviewing for work-at-home jobs are below.
Interviewing remotely saves you the headache of traveling, traffic that might make you late, finding the right location, etc. — whew! That’s a load off your plate!
The drawback of having to interview remotely is the lack of physical connection: the handshake, the mannerisms of...
Thought of being able to live and work in the same space is incredibly attractive — and more and more people are taking advantage of remote workplaces. The benefits are many: workers save time, money, and energy by not having to commute and share their workspace with others. And employers save money by not needing to supply office space to 100% of their employees. Not to mention the benefits employers gain from being able to attract top talent from all over the country or even the world. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows: there are pitfalls to working from home. It's important to know what they are to be able to prevent or alleviate them.
You shouldn't be afraid of working from home. Everyone in any workspace will encounter similar challenges. But being aware of these pitfalls is necessary in order to be prepared to deal with them.
OK, let's dive in...
This one's an obvious one. For some, working at home is the ideal situation because you don't have to be...