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How to Go from Working in the Office to Working at Home

Oct. 28, 2012
Personal Finance
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In an age where we can do almost anything over the Internet, many adults are trying to find jobs that can be done from their own homes. Saving time and money on commuting, more interaction with the family, dissatisfaction with a current job, and just plain unemployment are all reasons that people might seek out such a gig. According to Google, there are approximately 1.5 million searches in the U.S. each month for the term, “How can I work from home,” and interest in the topic has risen steadily over the past 5 years. So the desire to drop the standard office environment is definitely strong. Yet, unless you’re prepared to completely launch your own business, finding a suitable way to work from home can be a challenge.

You may have already decided to pursue the home office strategy, but don’t rush out to find a new job just yet.  It might be possible to translate from a traditional job to working remotely while remaining gainfully employed. Obviously, this won’t be the case for everyone, but there are certain approaches that could greatly increase your odds of getting approval to work from home.

Get to know the boss

One of the biggest issues with being away from coworkers is a communication barrier. Technology has made this problem miniscule compared to the past, however nothing is perfect. The more comfortable you are communicating in-person with your boss, the easier a transition to telecommuting will be.

Trust is another factor that will be pivotal to getting the ok to work from home. How can your employer be sure that you are using your time wisely and being a productive member of the team without the usual physical oversight? A good relationship with your superior will help ease these concerns. Let’s face it, most managers will be hesitant to allow someone they barely know, and don’t have full faith in yet, to work from home.

Become an expert

This is not to say you have to be some irreplaceable genius at your job, but being the only (or one of few) employees who understands a concept or who can complete a difficult task will definitely give you some leverage. An employer might rather grant your request than spend precious time hiring and training another resource. Always be on the lookout for niche areas of your company’s business that you can become well acquainted with. This will also help you to contribute in that area in the most positive way, reflecting well on your work and benefiting your project. Furthermore, taking the time and effort to develop new skills will not only help with your bid to work from home, but in the scenario that the job doesn’t end up working out, you’ll be better prepared to find another down the road.

Take initiative

Going above and beyond for the company can really only help your chances. What’s at stake is goodwill with the people who have the final say. Put in some extra hours when needed, or take on a project that others are avoiding. If it isn’t already required, make sure to provide regular status updates and ask employers for feedback. By demonstrating above-average commitment to your job, you’ll also prove responsible enough to perform the same quality work from home.

Will it work?

These tips are by no means foolproof. However, they’re suggestions that can only benefit you in the long run, whether it’s working from home or not. None of these are exactly revolutionary ideas either. They are all qualities that any company would look for in an employee. Unfortunately, not everyone gets the message, so the trick is to do it better than your peers. You’ll stand out as a model employee and therefore might just be given the opportunity to earn your living from the comfort of your home.