With most countries being put on lockdown, some of us have to work from home. Working from home is excellent even when there are no pandemics, and if your company has allowed you to do this, then you are very fortunate.
Not only does this offer you the opportunity to work on your own schedule, but it also gives you the freedom to do what you want when you want to do it. If you hate the constant stressful situations at work, and the incessant need to achieve challenging goals, then this could be the solution you have been looking for.
For years, people have been working from home. Stay at home moms have made careers out of it, freelancers do it all the time, and even I have been working from home for the last five years. I am a mom who relies solely on my online job, and it has been taking care of my bills all this time, which means that you, too, can make it working from home.
I know that sounds wonderful, right? Let’s take a look at the other side of the same coin.
In the Post
- Working from Home Challenges
- How Can You Set up An Office at Home?
- Where to Find Stay at Home Jobs?
- First-hand Tips on Spotting Online Scams
- Final Thoughts
Working from Home Challenges
In this post, we shall mostly look at the limitations that accompany working from home. Although it seems like such a dream, it has its own issues that you must learn to overcome. One of the biggest challenges is discipline.
You see, at work, you may always seem busy when the boss is around, or since you are in an office setup, you put on your game face, but what happens when you are in the house? Being disciplined enough to accomplish your daily goals shall take some time, and with the tips, we have outlined below, you can achieve.
So, let’s get started on some of these challenges and how you can overcome them;
Making It Work Is Hard
If your company allows you to do your job at home, then this is the ideal situation that most people ask for, but if you have decided to change careers and become a work from home professional, then you need to know that it’s not easy.
Later on in this blog, we shall tell you some of the jobs you can do from home.
Now, one thing you shall realize is that – nothing comes easy. Changing your career shall require you to learn a new skill. Learning takes time, and excelling at a new skill takes even longer. So, working from home is hard and requires someone with the right amount of drive, determination, and desire to succeed.
What can you do about it?
Yes. Facing a possible economic difficulty, please do not rush to quit just yet, ff you are currently employed. Use your new work from home job as a side gig, and professionals advise that when the income from the side gig surpasses your current income from your job, then you can go ahead and quit.
Patience indeed pays. Only a patient person can make it and become great at any job. With online work, you shall need to exercise patience as you learn the job, and also as you gain clients who can trust you.
Distractions that Lead to Low Productivity
I’m sure you have been at home during the weekends and realized that all you do is lazy away on the couch as you watch your favorite shows on Netflix. Now imagine having to stay at home all day long. This can be quite challenging.
Such distractions affect your productivity. You will constantly find yourself taking long breaks to make a snack, or watch a show and end up achieving very little at the end of the day. This can be dangerous, especially if your job relies on productivity.
What can you do about this?
To improve on this, try using productivity tools such as google drive so you can sync everything. Also, come up with your daily tasks each day and ensure you achieve them.
To make this as effective as possible, you should consider canceling your Netflix and other entertainment accounts, so you can have zero distractions. Make yourself understand that if you do not achieve your goals, you shall lose your job and then get your act together.
Kids Can Be Very Distracting as Well
Do you have kids? Well, get ready for one of the most challenging things to do – work from home with kids around. Because they are not used to seeing you all the time, and now you are suddenly available, they shall take this to mean that you are there for them.
Not only will they disturb you when you are trying to keep busy, but they shall also be making all sorts of noise in the house that shall be sure to keep you distracted.
What can you do about this?
Well, this is a hard one. You love your kids and want to spend time with them, but then you want to make money to take care of them. So, there is really nothing else to do but making your point clear.
Make sure they understand that you have to work. Sometimes we may think that kids do not understand, but they do. Sit them down and explain the situation, that at specific times during the day, you must be undisturbed, but also take a few minutes to give them your attention, especially when you need to take a break.
Besides, you could opt to put up an office in a separate location from the house, such as the basement or the garage. This should be a no-go zone for the kids.
For parents of younger babies and toddlers, a pack and play might be useful for you. It keeps your little one in a secure place while you’re at work.
- Best Pack and Plays
- 5 Best Toys for Babies Aged 0-6 Months
- Best Toys for 1 Year Old: Inspiring and Suitable for Development
Communication Challenges with Team Members
One of the biggest challenges with working from home is the fact that communicating with the whole team at the same time can be a challenge.
If you wish to pass on some vital points which they must adhere to, you may have to speak to one at a time, as compared to the office where you would call everyone in for a meeting. Now that you are all working from different locations, at different paces, what can you do about this?
What to do?
Have virtual meetings where attendance is mandatory. There are plenty of apps and programs that companies can use to have virtual meetings and pass on crucial information.
Did you ever receive an email, and acted like you did not? Well, trust your staff to act the same way as well. Avoid emails like the plague, and instead, rely on face-timing your staff or the virtual meetings we talked about above.
These can then be followed by an email after you have ensured that everyone received what they should have.
This is a big challenge because it happens sometimes. You’ll be frustrated in a sudden blackout when you have an urgent project to complete. This leads to delays in delivery and making up excuses that may not be accepted by your clients or bosses.
Here’s what you can do
Ensure that you are done with your work way before the deadline, such as a day early. This allows you to wait for electricity to be reconnected and complete the work.
A local Wi-Fi shop will almost always have a backup generator and having an agreement with them shall allow you to use their Wi-Fi as you wait for your power to be restored, which ensures that you deliver the work you should have delivered on time.
A good laptop can probably give you at least 3 hours of usage before it goes off. If you have charged it well, you can hotspot your phone to have a Wi-Fi connection and compete for the work that needs to be completed.
It would be wise to invest in a backup generator especially in a social lockdown, when your local power station may be out of maintenance. A portable generator also comes in handy for your outdoor camping adventures.
Some SOLID Advice for You Working from Home
- When receiving a call from a client on camera or having a virtual meeting, please ensure that you change from your stay at home clothes (pajamas in most cases) before you answer to avoid embarrassing yourself.
- Clear your desk before receiving important video calls to look neat.
- Don’t allow your kids to answer a video call that could be from your boss or a client.
How Can You Set up An Office at Home?
If your company has allowed you to work from home, instead of being laid off as is happening to most people during these hard economic times, congratulations!
Now, what you shall need to do in order to become as effective as you were in the office is to set up your own home office. If you are working at home on a full-time basis, then you should consider getting all of the things we have outlined below, but if it’s just for a short time, a laptop will do.
Depending on how many equipment your employer can provide, here’s what you might need:
Almost all work from home jobs shall require you to have a computer, so this is probably the first thing you shall buy. A good computer with a large memory space would be most ideal, since you may be required to save your work constantly.
High-speed internet access
High internet speed is necessary if you are working from home. Nothing feels as bad as waiting for a page to open, or an image to download. With time, the loading circle that keeps coming urging you to wait for the item to appear can slowly drive you crazy. Choose a high-speed internet so you can enjoy being at home and not lose your sanity.
An ergonomic desk and chair
Have you ever wondered why there are specific chairs for computers and desks as well? It is because they have been designed ergonomically for this particular purpose. The posture you take while working on your computer can cause some severe health issues such as back and neck pains, and it is therefore mandatory that you buy the right chair and desk.
Just as the chair and desk are essential, your home office should be well lit, so you don’t have to deal with eye strains and headaches while trying to read relevant documents.
A printer may not seem necessary when working from home since most of the work is done through emails and other ways, but if you ever need to print something, then you should consider getting a printer as well.
A backup storage
Having external backup storage such as a hard disk can come in handy when you need to back up all of your work. Computers fail sometimes, and you shall need to have all of your work intact.
HD webcam and a microphone
Since most meetings shall now take place online, having a webcam and a microphone shall be necessary while working from home.
Where to Find Stay at Home Jobs?
If you are looking for a side gig and want to start working from home, there are plenty of jobs you can do. Below please find some of these jobs and where you can find them online.
As I mentioned above, I am a work from home professional, and what I do is writing. There is a world of opportunity online for writers. If you are good at research and can probably put together a grammatically correct sentence, then you can excel in this field.
One person actually said that “If you constantly find yourself correcting other people’s grammatical mistakes, then you can be a great writer.”
Freelance writers are making plenty of money, but it is a job that requires time and patience in order to excel. Here are some sites that offer work for writers:
This is perhaps one of the most popular online jobs that pay very well. Most companies have actually decided to outsource their assistant tasks to work from home professionals, and it has been working out very well for them.
As a virtual assistant, you are required to deal with the company’s administrative work and other duties the company deems fit.
You can find virtual assistant jobs from the following sites. These can be accessed from any country.
Transcriptionists transform audio into text. What you do as a transcriptionist is to listen to recorded audio files and then type them into a word document. You must be a very keen listener if you want to be a successful transcriptionist.
This job takes time to learn and great attention to detail in order to make it. Here are some sites that offer transcription work.
To work as a translator, you must know more than one language and know them well. It is probably one of the easiest jobs you can find, and one that pays very well.
Upwork.com has been one of the best sites for interpreter jobs. As more people squeeze in, however, chances are you need more skills other than translation to be competitive and get approved.
Have you ever called the customer care for your mobile phone provider and thought you were speaking with someone with an Indian accent? Well, customer care jobs have been outsourced outside the US for years, but now due to the work from home jobs, there are more and more Americans offering these services from their homes.
Again, you can find customer care jobs from upwork.com and Fiverr.com as well.
This is almost similar to customer support, but tech support is someone with technical know-how in a specific area. The companies with most works from the home tech support staff are mostly internet companies, mobile phone companies, and computer firms.
It is actually a great job for someone in the university taking an engineering course. There are plenty of sites you can find tech support jobs, and one of the best is upwork.com.
Stay-at-home travel agent
Working from home as a travel agent is more common than you think. This is the kind of job that anyone can do, although you may need to undertake a short course on how it is done.
Once you get the hang of it, you can work independently as a travel agent and earn money from commissions offered by hotels, airlines, etc. that make use of travel agencies.
An online tutor
Countries such as China, Spain, Japan, etc., have been investing huge teaching their children English. Being a native English speaker qualifies you for the job immediately, and you don’t even have to undergo any sort of training.
This is a great job for anyone looking to make some cash on the side, and most especially, college kids. The job is flexible and allows you to set your own hours, and you can make upwards of $50,000 a year.
Social media manager
It is not possible to talk about work from home jobs and not mention a social media manager job. This is one of the most popular jobs next to writing because almost all companies currently have an online presence.
The work of a social media manager is to manage a company’s online presence, which includes posting everyday content, interacting with customers and coming up with marketing strategies in order to spread the word about the company.
The most important thing for a social media manager is to ensure that the company has a strong presence online, and the customers are communicating with the company constantly.
Because most of the population uses social media platforms, this is almost a way too easy a job that anyone can do, although there are some courses online you can take to be great at your job.
First-hand Tips on Spotting Online Scams
One of the things you must be careful of when you start working online is being scammed. Basically what happens is; you find a client, do a job for them, and they don’t pay you. Established companies such as Upwork have put strict measures in place to ensure that their freelancers are not scammed, but if you are working on your own, it may happen.
These tips can help you spot and avoid scams when you start working online;
- Ensure you work for companies that protect you against scammers such as Upwork.
- Do not accept offsite payments. When a client asks to pay you off the working platforms, it is wiser to decline, unless it is a client that you have known for a while and they have proved to be trustworthy.
- Pre-payment – only work for clients who have offered to pay a portion of the cost of the project, or who have put the total cost on escrow. This proves their commitment to pay you when the project is over.
- Don’t buy tools such as software for your client. This could be a sign that you are working with a scammer and they are trying to fool you into purchasing products for them, which they shall not pay for.
- Check a client’s profile before working for them, and most especially the reviews they have received from other freelancers. This shall give you some clue as to how the client operates. A client with consistently bad reviews should be avoided at all costs.
Working from home sure does look great, but comes with its own challenges as we have outlined above. What you need to know, however, is that some people like me have been doing it for years, and you can too.
All you need is a little bit of discipline, determination, and a can-do attitude. Not only does this give you the freedom to achieve your goals in a conducive environment, but it also allows you to take care of your children. It is one of the most fulfilling careers for most stay at home moms.
Stay strong, stay safe!