What to Consider Before Working From Home

Being able to work from home has many benefits. But finding a job that allows you to work remotely might be difficult.

This post goes through some ideas on how to land a work from home job, and if this is a good option for you.

Is working from home a viable option?

The first thing to consider when thinking about working from home is if this option is a possibility.

If you do most of your work from a computer, chances are you could do this remotely. But if you have a job that requires you to be physically present in a specific location, then it probably won’t work. At least not the exact position you’ve been filling.

It is possible that you could still do what you are doing now, in a different capacity, that would allow you to work from home. But in some jobs, this might not be an option without a major shift in your career.

With that said, below are a few different types of jobs that work well when working remotely in themselves:

  • Programming
  • Design
  • Illustration
  • Writing
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Accounting
  • Digital Project Manager
  • Travel Agent
  • Data Analysis
  • Consulting
  • Instructor
  • Social Media Manager

And there are many other options. As we become more of a digitized society, the options will increase.

Working Alone

When thinking about whether working from home is a good option for you, also consider if you will enjoy the work environment.

Do you mind working from home during the work day and not being in physical contact with anyone? Or do you go crazy if you are not interacting physically with people regularly?

Being an introvert, I enjoy working alone. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy interacting with others. I get all I need through our company chat software. If I feel worn out from always being at home, sometimes I’ll change locations and work from a coffee shop.

It would not be a great situation if you quit your current job, only to find out that you do not like working from home by yourself.

One option is if you want to have the flexibility that working from home comes with, but you also wish to have more physical human interaction, you could look into working from a coworking space on occasions. Using a coworking space might give you the best of both worlds, without sacrificing the benefits of working from home when you want to.

Experience

The more experience you have, and especially if you are considered a “master” in your field, it will be easier to find a job that allows you to work out of your home.

If you are just starting out, and have limited experience in your job field, it’s going to be harder to convince a company to bring you on. The main reason for this is because remotely working requires a higher level of trust than a typical job. They can’t just walk over and see what you are doing.

If you don’t have much experience and want to work remotely, you might want to consider first getting some substantial job experience. This experience will not only improve the quality of your job resume, but it also increases the chances of landing a high-paying work from home job. It also puts you in a position of power, as opposed to trying to get whatever you can. You might end up finding yourself accepting a remote job you don’t want, just because it is the only offer you have.

I know this may not be what you want to hear, but this could end up improving the trajectory of your career, and open up more options when you have more experience.

Salary

Depending on where you live, and what you do, will depend on whether or not your salary will increase working remote. If you are in a low cost of living area, there is a good chance you can make more money working for a company remotely in a larger city.

Even if you learn that you will have to take a pay-cut to work from home, the benefits and freedom might be worth the cost. Just keep in mind that not having to commute to work will save a ton of money and time.

When you look for a work at home job, you might also learn that salaries and pay will vary across the country. That is why you want to try to get as many job interviews as possible, to get a sense of what is out there. You might find a job that has fewer responsibilities but pays more from a different city.

Companies that are looking for remote workers have an influx of candidates, which means these jobs can be much more competitive. Sometimes this means pay could go down (compared to certain areas), and it could also make it more challenging to get an interview. That’s why the more people you can get to view your resume and get an interview with, the more of a chance you will have in landing a job.

Health Insurance

Health insurance can be tricky when working for a company that is not in the same state where you live. If the company has a lot of remote employees, chances are they provide national health insurance. In most cases, this is going to be the best and cheapest option for healthcare.

But you might find yourself in a situation where the company you work remotely for, doesn’t have a healthcare policy that is available in your state. Your next best option is to use healthcare.gov (or your states healthcare marketplace) to see what options you have. Depending on your income level, you might qualify for subsidies to lower your premium. If not, health insurance is going to be expensive.

Health insurance could be a significant factor in taking a remote position. If you have a family of four and do not qualify for healthcare subsidies, you could end up paying $1,500-$2,000/mo for health insurance.

Don’t wait until you accept a job offer and start before thinking about health insurance. Having to spend $2,000/mo out of pocket for health insurance could end up taking away the benefits of a higher salary (that’s $24,000/yr).

Traveling

Depending on the company you work for, and the type of job, you might end up having to do some traveling for work.

Sometimes this means going to a yearly company gathering or attending a conference. Assuming you are okay with a little travel, this shouldn’t be an issue. But if you have kids at home, even a small amount of travel time could be hard to work around, depending on your kids’ ages.

When working through the interview process for remote jobs with companies, make sure you ask how much travel they expect you to do (if it hasn’t come up already). It’s one thing to have to travel a few times per year. It’s a whole different problem if they expect you to jump on a plane every month.

If you are married, I suggest starting the conversation with your partner on how they feel about you traveling for work. That way you have an idea of how much travel will work for your family.

Home Office

One vital piece of working from home is having an environment that allows you to work effectively. In most cases, this means a room or area dedicated to your home office.

If you are living in a cramped space already, the problem is only going to get worse if you don’t have a dedicated home office.

The best option is an area that is separate enough from the main areas of your home, that will allow you to work at any time. If your home office doesn’t have a window, think about whether this is going to work for sitting in that space for 40+ hours per week.

You might think that you can make your attic work as a home office, but if it doesn’t bring up good feelings when you go into that space now, that feeling will get exasperated the more time you spend there.

Computer and Office Furniture

Some companies that allow you to work from home may or may not require you to provide your computer. I haven’t worked for a company that didn’t buy me a laptop to use, but this is something you will want to make sure you are clear on before accepting a job offer.

Other things, such as a desk, chair, etc. may or not be covered by the company. But you won’t know unless you ask. If you can get a motorized standing desk, that will help improve your health from having to sit all the time. These days I think you can get an excellent standing desk for several hundred dollars, and it might be a great option even if you have to purchase it yourself.

How to Search for a Work from Home Job

The excellent news about searching for a work from home job is that Google becomes your vast world to explore. However, that can also make it challenging to find opportunities that are published online.

You’ll want to make sure to do an in-depth review of the common search terms and job listing sites, which might include:

  • remote jobs for [job type]
  • online [job type] jobs
  • remote jobs directory
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor

The more resumes, emails, and forms you can submit, the higher your chances are for getting contacted.

One technique that I’ve had success with is to target major cities and metro areas around the country and search for companies that are in my field. Even if they aren’t looking for remote workers specifically, you might be able to convince them to consider you as an option. Just keep in mind that you will want to start the message with how you know they aren’t looking for remote workers directly, but that you would make an excellent candidate for the position.

Sometimes if you can just get your foot in the door, that might be enough to convince them that you are worth it.

Resume

You need to spend a massive amount of time making sure your resume looks as impressive as possible.

The goal is to land an interview, and a spectacular resume could end up getting you a job that is not even directly open to remote employees.

One thing to consider is that you could potentially be going against tens or hundreds of other candidates also applying for that remote position. How does your resume stack up against your competition?

You want to keep your resume simple and to the point and make sure it highlights your unique strengths. Why should they consider you over others?

Summary

If working from home with what you do is an option, it can make your workday more enjoyable and productive. But before seeking out remote employment, thinking about how well your home office will work, will help avoid unexpected future problems.

Being prepared on how to handle health insurance and pay can also help you figure out which job options are worth pursuing.

Do you work from home? Are there things I missed that people should consider before pursuing a working from home job?

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