5 Traps to Avoid When Telecommuting

I telecommute. I love telecommuting and I totally 100% encourage anyone who wants to go the alternative route of working from home rather than working from an office. It has afforded me flexibility and has allowed me to be home for my daughter which has been a huge blessing, especially as a single mom. But, there are traps that are easy to fall into when you telecommute that can make for a less than ideal situation.

Here are my 5 Traps to Avoid When Telecommuting.

  1. Get Dressed! Of course you say. Well, when you are in the comfort of your own home it is easy to be well…comfortable. Lounging in your pj’s in front of the computer becomes very easy. I suggest getting dressed for the day in a manner that makes you feel  good. Don’t become sloppy because you are at home. You feel much better if 3 o’clock rolls around and you aren’t dressed in the clothes you went to bed in!
  2. Create Boundaries with Friends and Family– When people hear you work from home for some reason, they don’t believer you are really working. They’ll ask you for favors, stop by, call and want to talk for hours, basically things they would never do if you were in an office. So make boundaries or otherwise you’ll find yourself constantly distracted and unproductive. Let friends know your schedule. Don’t be afraid to tell them if they call or visit you won’t be available. After all this is your livelihood!
  3. Change Up The Scenery if Possible- Working at home is great, but you can easily become a recluse. Some jobs you can easily do at the coffee shop as well as in your home. If you can change your scenery a couple of times a week. If you do make calls just be aware of the noise level. But, if you have a porch or yard go outside and work it will do wonders to get fresh air and sunshine.
  4. Take a Lunch Break-One of those obvious things right? Well, when you work at home it is really easy to lose track of time. Take the time to eat your meals. You deserve a lunch break so be intentional about taking it every day. This is a great time to take get some fuel, take a quick walk, or even do some quick chores to make your week go smoother.
  5. Know When to Shut Off- Create boundaries for yourself. Know when to shut off. You have work hours so stick to them. Don’t get into the habit or allow others to get into the habit of calling you after work hours and expecting you to do work. There should still be a separation between work and family. Sure there are exceptions or even those clients you don’t mind taking an after hours call for, but make this the exception not the expectation. 

Hope you enjoyed these tips! Happy Telecommuting!

Work At Home Leads!

 

Working at home can give a single mom the flexibility she needs to manage her home and family. Telecommuting can also alleviate some of the stress of working in the office and being a single parent. Here are just a few resources that you may find helpful!

Work at Home Mom Revolution– I love this site because it is free and it posts legitimate telecommuting positions. You can sign up for notifications and receive daily updates. These jobs are part-time and full-time, there is also a link that leads directly to the job position where you can apply. This is a perfect site for mom who are searching for flexibility.

Outsource– If you’re in the market for freelance, part-time, or contract work at home, then check out Outsource at Outsource.com   for supplemental income. Signing up is free but, there is a monthly fee to send a quote to the potential employer. Depending on how often you use Outsource it may be worth the fee.

Guru– This site is geared toward the freelance worker, again I’m all about supplemental income so if you are too this may be the site for you! Find the project your skills set is in, apply, do the job and get paid!

 Happy job hunting!

Career Resources for Potential Telecommuting Positions! My Favorite …ASAE

If Telecommuting is your dream go for it!

If Telecommuting is your dream go for it!

Hope everyone had a great Monday! As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am going to try to post resources for those of you who are interested in finding telecommuting positions. It isn’t always easy to find these jobs, but it isn’t impossible either. The first resource I suggest you try is a place I actually worked that has a great career site for association jobs from all over the country. ASAE The Center for Association Leadership has a wealth of information just in general! There are tons of resources, courses, and information that you may find helpful for  professional development and of course it s a great place to search for that at home position you want!

ASAE has a Career Headquarters known as CareerHQ.org this is where you’ll find the jobs. Anyone can go onto the site and search. If you are looking specifically for telecommuting positions follow these steps:

  1.  Go to asaecenter.org
  2. Click on Career 
  3. Then Click on Find a Job  this will take you to the job bank
  4. At the top of the job bank you’ll see a space for  keywords 
  5. In keywords you’ll want to type in: Telecommuting, Remote, or Work at Home. I usually use telecommuting for a better response. For example I typed telecommuting today  and got 20 jobs, I typed in remote and got 5 jobs. It really just depends on how the employer posts their ad.
  6. Once you click on the job you want you may need to set up an account with ASAE to apply or many of ads will have a direct email where you can send your resume and cover letter.
  7. Make sure you read the entire description and information about telecommuting, for example  some positions only allow working from home 3x a week instead of every day, or telecommuting is an option after a certain period of time.

Click Telecommuting Positions to look at today’s opportunities!

Telecommuting and Why It’s The Option For This Single Mom

Telecommuting allows you to sometimes have a change of scenery! Every so often I'll go to a cafe to work.

Telecommuting allows you to sometimes have a change of scenery! Every so often I’ll go to a cafe to work.

One of my most popular post is about telecommuting and the single mom. I believe the reason it is so popular is that staying at home is on many single mom’s hearts. I’m not trying to knock anyone who has to or wants to go into an office. I respect every mom’s choice to do what is right for their family and for themselves. I know women who would feel cut off from the world if they were in the house all day and it would make them grumpy and unsatisfied, in those cases I’d say get into the office! Then there are some professions that just require their employees to be in the office and telecommuting isn’t an option. The important thing is that each woman finds the right path for her, pursues it and forgets about the mommy wars! For me that path was telecommuting.

I went to work about 5 months after Anya was born and it was gut wrenching leaving my sweet girl. I worked in an office in DC for about 6 1/2 years. Those years were spent taking the crowded metro into the office and being in a mad dash to pick up Anya before 6:00 pm when after care closed. I was blessed to have an awesome and understanding boss who was flexible with me so it was in no way the worst case scenario. However, my heart always ached to be an at home working mother. I yearned to be home for my daughter and not pick her up at 6 pm and only having a few hours to bond before bedtime. So I began searching and praying for a job that would allow me to work at home. After a horrible stint at one job, I was offered a position that was telecommuting with 1 day in the office. It was my prayer answered. The pay was low but there was commission and it served it’s purpose. Then I got laid off in August 2014. It wasn’t a big surprise and to be honest I wasn’t in love with the job, so I took the lemons and made lemonade! I enjoyed my time off and kept searching for a job that was telecommuting.

The thought of going back to the office made my stomach turn. Literally! I had an interview with a position that required going into the office everyday and I got sick on the day of the interview. Maybe my body was rejecting the notion of returning to the office, the loss of freedom and the time I’d lose with Anya. But, I knew office life wasn’t for me.  I’m well aware of how difficult it is to get a job in these economic times. So, I prayerfully asked God to lead me and to forgive me if I was being ungrateful.Then 2 telecommuting job interviews came up. I did well in both but knew the one job suited me better and praise God I got the job! So far the position is great. I work with 3 lovely people who are helpful and kind. My boss is flexible and as long as I do my 40 hours he isn’t worried about when I take my lunch break and just expects me to handle my time accordingly. Telecommuting especially as a single mom has given me a different quality of life that has made me more relaxed and more fulfilled.

There are so many benefits from working from home like:

  • The flexibility! You can work from anywhere!
  • The ability to spend more time with your family
  • The elimination of aftercare and the costs of aftercare
  • Economically you save money on transportation
  • You have more time to take care of your daily errands and chores
  • Your are able to stay home with a sick kid
  • You can work in the comfort of your own home
  • You can relocate easily if need be

Don’t get me wrong you do work hard and I’ve worked more diligently then I ever have! When you telecommute  there is a different type of accountability, standard and trust that you are held to, but is well worth it!

I feel super blessed and ladies if you want to telecommute don’t think it is impossible! It is totally possible! God knows what’s on your heart and he is listening. Start searching those career sites and don’t be afraid to ask your employer about telecommuting options, the worst they can say is no and you’ll know where they stand.

I’ll be gathering some resources together and posting them in the upcoming weeks. I hope this helps those of you who are interested in telecommuting.

Ten Lessons I Learned About Working At Home!

Working at home… I had this grand notion of sipping coffee in the morning in my jammies while answering emails and being completely stress free because I wasn’t catching the metro into DC. Yeah right! Granted I am super duper grateful to be working at home. As a mom and especially a single mom it does make my life and Anya’s life a heck of a lot easier, but working at home isn’t always easy. There is an accountability that you have to produce that is much higher virtually than when your in the office. I for one, want my company to be confident that when I’m at home I am working just as hard as if I would be in the office for 8 hours. I think for this reason, I find myself working even harder and being more strict with myself. However, I’ve found that for this telecommuting option to work I need to have balance, organization, and have a plan So here are a few things I’ve learned.

Don’t STAY in your PAJAMAS!! I never thought I would be one of those stay at home working moms that would lounge in her PJs while clicking away at the keyboard.. But I AM! Listen, this is such a bad idea. It started innocently with me having early morning meetings and then answering a snowball of emails and then sending a ton of emails (seriously like 1087 to be exact) then making a ton of calls. Next thing I knew it was 4pm and I’m in my coffee stained nightgown. SO NOT GOOD. So if you are working from home… GET DRESSED! You will feel better believe me. Now that school is starting I think the getting dressed part will be easier, since I don’t want to mortify my daughter as I drop her off in my Pjs. Not to mention not getting dressed and sitting in front of a computer all day looking like something the cat dragged in does nothing for your self esteem.  Take a shower, get dressed, do your hair, you’ll feel better!

Don’t Skip Lunch or Breaks Ever! You need a break and if you don’t take one you will quickly burn out. You also need to eat and not munch. Make sure you eat breakfast and lunch. Take the hour and make yourself a healthy lunch full of energy fueled foods. Try big salads with veggies and add some protein and don’t forget hydration is key along with a good multi-vitamin. It is tempting to snack all day or to forget to drink water. Don’t do this! Have some pre-ready snacks available that are healthy and steer away from junk food. Also keep a big bottle of water nearby to swig at throughout the day. If you work through your lunches and breaks you’ll find yourself exhausted by the end of the day.

Utilize Your Breaks. What’s the point of working at home if you can’t get a few things done right? If you get breaks, throw in a  load of laundry, tidy up the bathroom, make the beds, get the dishes out for dinner, polish the furniture in one room, pay bills, anything you can do in 15 minutes take advantage of getting it done. This will make for a less stressful week.

Get Outside! Okay you can easily get cabin fever from being inside all day. Even if you work away from the home getting fresh air is a good idea. After you eat lunch go for a walk or eat lunch on the porch. I try to eat breakfast on the porch to get a little sunshine. If there is work you can do outside, by all means do it and take in the outdoors. It can be motivating and refreshing!

Create Boundaries. Just because mom is working at home doesn’t mean she has time to play Candyland. If your kids are home for part of the day, explain that mom has to work and people are depending on her. Let them know that you have a job to do. If you have a meeting or conference call, put a little sign on your door letting the kiddos know now is not the time to ask what you thought of the, “Good Luck Charlie,” episode from the previous evening. Kids aren’t the only ones you have to create boundaries with, sometimes you have to create boundaries with friends on when is an appropriate time to call or visit.

Create a Designated Work Area. This is so important. I have a den that I use as my office. It has 2 windows with plenty of natural light, a desk, comfy chair and a door I can shut when I need privacy. Working in a designated area also motivated me to get the job done, more so compared to if I were sitting in my bed. Make your space comfortable, functional and keep it stocked with the supplies you need. Let the kids now this is not a playroom.

Be Organized. Organize your schedule and have it in full view. Without organization it is easy to get sidetracked. You are now managing your job and home responsibilities at home so make it flow for you. Get a chart or calendar  that shows the day’s activities including work and home. Create a calendar and sync it with your phone. Set alerts so you know when a meeting is coming up or if your kid’s ballet class is in 20 minutes. I found myself getting so immersed in work that I forgot about things I had to do around the house or thinking I had time to do it because I worked at home and that simply wasn’t true. Get on a schedule and stick to it!

Get Creative. Find a way to make telecommuting work to your family’s advantage. If you want to be finished with your work day by the time your kids get home, ask your boss if you can work early hours. However, don’t work 6:00 am to 2:00 pm and be so exhausted from the early morning schedule that you’re crabby and can’t enjoy your time with your kids. Find a schedule that is conducive to you getting the most out of your workday while spending time with your family. Really consider and evaluate what works for you and manage your time accordingly.

Be Clear About Expectations. If you want to be successful and keep your virtual position, be clear on your job’s expectations. This means maintaining close contact with your coworkers and supervisors. Let colleagues know you’re available, be aware of what you’re expected to produce, agree on the hours you work and keep the communication flowing. If you are going to be away for extended time let others know how long. Working at home requires trust and accountability make sure your boss knows they can count on you.

Make Your Life Easier. Take advantage of what working at home allows you to accomplish! Count your blessings that you can  pick up your kids from school at 3:15 instead of 6:00, go ahead and prepare a fun snack for them, maintain your home, and find joy in the flexibility this opportunity offers you and most of all be grateful!

One last important lesson- KNOW WHEN TO QUIT. Don’t keep working quit at your appointed time. I’ve found myself working way after hours and that isn’t balance. Know when to disconnect from the phone and the computer for yourself and your kids!

Working at home is a privilege and a blessing! Enjoy it!