Telecommuting may sound like a sweet deal, but it's not for everybody. Long-time telecommuter Jody Gilbert takes a realistic look at the pros and cons.
From the download:
If you’ve been considering a telecommuting arrangement, you’ll want to be aware of some of the ways it might go off the rails. Here are a few indications that maybe your commute to the office isn’t so bad after all.
You fall prey to external distractions
One common lure of a telecommuting arrangement is the misguided notion that staying home will make it easier to juggle caregiver demands and work demands. Whether it’s kids, an elderly relative, or anyone else who happens to inhabit your home-now-office and requires some of your attention, the distractions are likely to take a sizable bite out of your focus and productivity.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to find a balance. I’m sure many of you out there have. (And please share your comments and tell us what works for you.) But make sure you take a good hard look at what’s really going to happen if you try to manage domestic and professional responsibilities in the same space-time continuum.
You’re a sitting duck for internal distractions
If you can immerse yourself in a project and resist the little devil on your shoulder that urges you to raid the fridge, do the laundry, call your brother, pay some bills, weed the garden, bathe the dog, finish that Stephen King book so you can return it to the library, pop over to the library to return that Stephen King book, look for your missing smartphone, cut the grass, watch a few minutes of SportsCenter, check your eBay bids... well good for you. It’s not that office employees aren’t doing a workplace version of some of these activities (some more than others). But at home, there are likely to be more tempting distractions (WAY more), with nobody but you to keep yourself in line.
Of course, you need to give yourself some latitude here. But if you’re going to succeed, you have to do a little self-policing. Or bribery. That can work. One time-honored trick is to promise yourself a break or reward at a certain time or after you accomplish a particular task. Sure, it has a kindergarten flavor. But if the devil on your shoulder is around five years old, as mine is, you might give it a try.