Want to Work From Home? Answer These Six Questions First
As a busy mom, one thing you may be considering is if a work-at-home job is right for you. We suspect this is on your mind whether you work now or have been away from the workforce. As more and more companies offer work-from-home opportunities and your family life and personal goals change, it’s natural to wonder if this is an approach that could help you find the sweet spot between income, professional ambitions, and family responsibilities.
Like so many areas of motherhood, there are many important considerations as you ponder whether or not an at-home job fits your life. In our experience, concerns generally fall into three main categories–personal, family, and professional.
At HireMyMom, our team totally understands these questions. We want to help you by creating a framework that makes it easier to answer the question of whether or not you’d like to work from home.
So, we’ve pulled together this list of questions every mom can ask herself before deciding whether an at-home job is a good fit. Think of this blog as your personal “Ask Alexa” as you wrestle with this important question. Here, we break down the questions to ask yourself as you search your heart on this important decision.
Let’s start with the personal part because, ultimately, this is a decision that will affect you more than anyone else. Working from home can be a radically different way of life–many people love it right off the bat, others warm up to it, and some find that it’s not the right approach for them.
There’s no right or wrong answer, and there are many layers to consider. But, here are three good questions for you to consider as you think about whether working from home is right for you.
How do you feel about being at home more/most of the time? If you are familiar with the routine of going to an office each day, suddenly working from home can be a significant change, and some people find it jarring.
- COVID-19 provided many of us with a preview of working from home. While you may have a good sense of how you’ll feel, knowing that being at home is a more permanent situation may change the equation for you. So, it’s worth considering how you will feel if you have no office or work location to go to when you need a break from the house.
- Here are some specific things to consider. Will you miss getting dressed up? Would missing out on your commute make you sad? Do you have sufficient friends and social support systems outside the office to stave off the loneliness that can come from working at home?
Do you have a sound time management system? When you work at home, it can be challenging to manage your time because many traditional time markers disappear. There’s no ritual of getting ready, no commute, no coffee run, no customary chats with a co-worker to ground you at the start of each day. And, with no office to get to, no boss standing by, and family obligations easily visible from your workspace, it can be challenging to organize your tasks and time in a way that lets you be successful.
- For others, working from a home office makes it easy to let work slide into the nooks and crannies of life. When that happens, some at-home workers find that work takes a larger swath of time and leads to an unsustainable lifestyle.
- Ask yourself: How will you find the discipline and motivation to work each day? How will you organize your day into intentional blocks of time where you can work? Can you turn off your work brain when it’s time to move on to a family-related task? Will the temptation be too strong to focus on other things? One way to think of this is to consider if you’d rather fold laundry or work on a project. If you say fold laundry or you aren’t sure, working at home could be more of a struggle for you, and you may want to do more exploration before you jump in.
Do you have a place to work? Or, can you find one? Working from home is still work and having a place to focus makes it much easier to be successful. We find that the most successful at-home workers have a dedicated space to do work. It can be a complete home office, a desk tucked into the corner of your living room, or a bag that holds your work materials and gets popped up when and where you need it. The point of identifying a space is that it helps put you in the right mindset to get to work.
- So, look around your house and see if you can carve out some space to call your own. What’s needed to turn that area into a workspace?
As a mom, your family situation will weigh on your ability to transition to working from home. Talking your plans over with your spouse is an excellent way to assess whether or not your family is ready for you to work at home. These questions can also help you plan a transition to working from home.
- How does your budget look? Working at home can save you money. But, it can also cost a little in the short term as you make the transition. To assess how you may fare in this equation, consider how much money you might save by not commuting, buying work clothes, and paying for other expenses related to work.
- Then, consider the costs involved in setting up a home office. Do you need to purchase a computer? A desk? A printer? Upgrade your internet service? Finally, take a look at the pay you are likely to earn from a work-at-home job and run the numbers with your spouse.
- What’s your childcare situation, and how does it affect your ability to work? The question of childcare often is framed as one that affects younger kids more than older kids. But, as your kids get older, the times and ways they need you change substantially.
- For example, if your kids are in middle school, your afternoons may include lots of driving around. That could limit the types of jobs you are available to do, or the hours you can work.
- Conversely, if you have very young children, you may find that you have a good chunk of work time in the afternoon during nap time and again in the evening. Consider whether your kids are at school all day. If they are too young for school or if you homeschool, think about what that means for your ability to work.
- You can involve older children in this conversation and discuss times when they may manage on their own while you work. If your kids are younger and you think you may need childcare, explore your options for finding it as part of your consideration process.
As you think about transitioning to a work-from-home lifestyle, the type of work you are interested in is an important consideration and likely to drive many of your decisions. In terms of professional concerns, there’s one main question to consider: what are your professional goals?
Work can be a significant source of identity for many moms. For others, career considerations are not that important. But, thinking about professional goals makes it easier to determine what you want out of a job. There are several ways to answer this question, and the answer could vary at different points in your life.
For example, if you have an established profession, do you want to continue to work in the same field but move to an at-home job? Or, would you prefer to make a change to something new?
Maybe, you don’t have professional ambitions but would like to find a job that provides additional income or lets you engage a new or different part of your brain each day.
Or, perhaps you’ve always wanted to start a business and want to use this time to launch something.
All of these answers are valid and offer great opportunities for working at home. Knowing how you answer this question can help you find the right work-at-home opportunity that aligns with your professional goals.
If you aren’t sure what you want to do or how your skills may translate to different types of jobs, HireMyMom offers resources to help.
- Check out the Top 10 Work From Home Jobs for Moms to see what’s popular.
- See these tips for finding at-home work without a lot of experience if you are thinking of changing career directions or are new to the workforce.
- Build your skillset with these free training options.
- Explore your entrepreneurial options by learning how you can start your own Virtual Assistant Business.
Ready to move forward?
If all this soul searching has you sure you are ready to work from home, it’s time to find the right partner in your job search journey.
Join HireMyMom to have exclusive access to a curated list of legitimate work-from-home jobs. Moms love us because they know all applications are going to real businesses looking for help. Employers love us because they know they can find high-quality, highly motivated candidates who want to work from home.