I work from home as a Marketing Coordinator for a fundraising firm in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. When anyone who asks what I do hears my spiel, no one hears the title, they hear “work from home” and think, Wow, that’s the life.

If you thought that too, you wouldn’t be wrong. But let’s go over some of the most frequently asked questions of someone who works remotely like me…

How do you stay disciplined enough to keep yourself on task?

I love creating tasks for myself (based on company needs), and making my own timetable. This can often be a positive and a negative. I function best on deadlines, so I keep myself on schedule with a marketing calendar put together by my colleagues and I. Another simple tip I have found helpful is making daily, weekly, and monthly checklists. These lists contain my specific goals and tasks to accomplish that align with the overall calendar. Getting too comfortable or distracted at home is so easy, but if you’re good at following through, working from home might be a good option.

Do you spend long periods of time on your own?

Very much so, yes. Over the past few years, I have discovered that I am an introverted extrovert. I like my alone time and my space, but I also thrive off of mindful conversations with others. I enjoy the peace and quiet I have working from home, but truthfully it gets really lonely. One of my favorite words is intention. Working from home has made me more intentional, because I have to reach out to others if I want to prevent myself from going stir crazy.

How do you communicate with your coworkers?

Once a week, our office has a team conference call where we catch up on new engagements, projects, and make sure we’re all on the same page. We have learned to communicate via email, without face-to-face contact. Electronic communication has become our norm. If there’s anything I’ve learned through this experience, it’s that we can’t communicate indirectly when we need something from one another. Emails lack tone and body language, forcing us to be very direct with our requests.

Do you need to have a place to work without distractions?

Yes! Andrew is simultaneously in grad school and studying for his Certified Public Accounting exams. I usually have a quiet, clean apartment to myself to work in. Even when he is around, he is studying, reading, or watching lectures at his desk. Giving me a distraction free zone. Occasionally I do like to go to a library or coffee shop for a little change of pace. In that case, I just choose more secluded table, put my headphones in, and get to work.

If you are disciplined, can spend time on your own consistently, are comfortable communicating via email only, and have a distraction-less place to work, you might be qualified to work from home. Being a motivated individual is also a good trait for someone who works remotely. You may not have to be up by a certain time, but you need to have the energy to get up and get to work. Even if that means grabbing your computer, and getting back into bed.

One thought on “The Reality of Working from Home

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