Okay, I promised I’d reveal the easiest way to secure a work from home job. This is how I got my first work from home position.
If you’ve read previous posts on this blog, especially my last post, entitled “Transitioning Your Skills to a Work From Home Job”, you’ve realized the best approach to finding a telecommuting or work at home position is to focus on jobs that match the education and job skills you already possess. An alternative, if you want to move into a new job field, is to get more training or education.
But before you start signing up for classes, stop and evaluate your current position. First question, and the most important in my opinion, is: do you like your current position? If one of your main motivations for transitioning to a work from home position is because you’re bored with your current job or just don’t like the work you’re doing, then you will probably be better off in the end if you look for a different position or even delve into a new field.
However, if you like your current job, you may be just a few steps away from getting a work from home position. This particular method may be an especially attractive option if you like your work but you’re not fond of your work environment (i.e. you hate sitting in a cubicle all day or maybe you just don’t get along with your coworkers). So, the next question to ask yourself is: could my current position transition to a work from home position?
In some cases, the answer to this question will be a definite “no”. If you’re a police officer or a firefighter, face it, you can’t do your current job from home. But there are many jobs that can transition to work from home. My previous telecommuting position was working as a health insurance claims adjuster for an insurance company. I sat in front of a computer and processed 200 – 250 insurance claims per day. I answered mailboxes and emails from coworkers. I answered the occasional phone call. Most of my job tools were online, so I didn’t need file cabinets full of papers or shelves full of books to do my job.
A good way to evaluate your job and determine if it’s suited to become a work from home position is to make a list of all your job duties. I’m not talking about your job description. Write down what you do every day from the start of your day until you clock out. Once you’ve drafted your list, go back through each item. Could each duty be done from home? Check these off your list. For any task that is questionable, try to come up with an alternative way that it could be done from home.
So, my previous job was perfect for a work from home position. How did I convince my employer to let me work from home? I was lucky. They already had a few other employees in a similar position and I just asked if I could join their ranks. I lived about 60 minutes from town and the commute was wearying. My employer provided me with a computer, an internet connection and even a dedicated phone line. The transition went pretty smoothly and if it hadn’t been THE MOST boring job in existence, I’d probably still be doing it.
Now, we’ve evaluated whether your job can be transitioned into a work from home position. So, if it can be, how do you convince your employer to let you telecommute? Well, before you run into your boss’s office and get down on your knees to beg him or her to let you work from home, take a little bit more time and look at all aspects of your current job. By this, I mean look at your current job performance. Are you a reliable employee? Do you often work without a lot of direct supervision? Does your boss regularly have to remind you of work deadlines or even extend deadlines for tasks?
Work from home positions can make supervisors very nervous when it comes to employee performance. If your job has metrics that your employer uses to measure your productivity and performance, you may have better luck convincing your boss to let you work from home. My telecommuting position had easily measureable performance standards based on the number of claims processed per day and my claim turnaround times. If your current metrics are above average or outstanding, this is something to point out to your boss. It is also a way they can monitor your work at home. Don’t hesitate to set work expectations (if they don’t already exist) with your boss when you talk about working from home. Having defined work expectations will also help you stay on track as an employee.
So, your job doesn’t have readily available metrics used to measure your work performance. Don’t despair. Work attendance is also a good measure of your reliability. If you don’t have the best track record, spend the next couple months or so boosting it. The same goes with your other job duties. Employers will be more willing to consider a telecommuting option if you’ve shown you’re a solid employee who can self-motivate. Another way to track your performance is a work task log. Keep track of everything you do. Don’t make it too detailed and time consuming, but a simple log of what you do and what a good job you do might also influence your boss.
The final hurdle is going to be your home office. Some employers might provide all the equipment you need to work from home, but it can’t hurt your cause to have an office that’s ready to go. In this scenario, it might be in your best interest to have a dedicated room with a door to devote to your home office. This will help convince your supervisor that you can avoid distractions. Consider what you need at your current onsite office to do your job. Can you provide the basics to get your telecommuting office up and running? Even if your employer can provide you with a computer and pays for your internet access, make sure the kind of high speed internet access you need is available in your area.
I know this option sounds ridiculously easy. Some people don’t even consider it when they think about getting a work from home job. The key is to make sure you have a plan and are in the right position to propose such a transition to your employer. If you go into your boss’s office with a viable plan and all the facts, showing you’ve thought the idea through thoroughly and considered all the issues and problems associated with it, you’re going to have a much better chance.
Finally, if your current job won’t transition well to a telecommuting position, look at other positions within your company. A lateral move might be the right choice in such a case. I would caution against accepting a new position (either with your current employer or a new employer) and them immediately asking to work from home. Spend AT LEAST four to six months in a position before you make such a proposal. And make sure you show your employer how great an employee you are during this time. Lay the groundwork before you reap the rewards.
Whew, for an “easy” topic, this ended up being a long post, but I think it’s a really great way to get a work from home job if it works for you. My next post will be on how to start searching for legitimate work from home positions.