The Perks of Freelance Life

Does working from the comfort of your home sound like a dream come true? It can be, but first you have to consider whether a remote position is right for you. After my husband was offered a job in Chicago and we decided to move, I found myself wanting to keep my job, but needed a way to transition it into a remote position. Luckily, when I notified my company of the move, my managers wanted to make it work, so they allowed the transition and we packed our bags.

At first, the transition was a bit rocky as I struggled to find a routine. I didn’t have a designated work space, which hindered my concentration. I needed to be able to get away from distractions at home like our  playful dogs and the noisy TV. I quickly realized that I needed a private space of my own to work from. I also had to set a schedule. It took about a month to completely set up my home office and organize everything I needed.

The Pluses

Working from home comes with many perks like having zero transportation costs, no commute, saving money on business attire, being able to make your lunch at home, the ability to multitask (laundry and paperwork? Done.) and not having to take time off when you need the repairman to stop by. And my favorite perk: The ability to work from anywhere with a computer and a Wi-Fi connection.  When I need a change of scenery, the coffee shop across the street is always there to caffeinate and fuel my workday.

The Minuses

Like any job, remote positions come with their share of challenges. Delegating work when I’m not in the office was difficult at first. I had to figure out a system that worked for me, like scheduling phone calls with co-workers at least once a day, using technology like Skype and WebEx for meetings and staying organized with several spreadsheets and lists. When you’re on your own, staying focused and organized is vital. I use a planner and set reminders for deadlines and meetings.

Another challenge I face is having limited social interaction and a lack of motivation to change out of my pajamas or leave the house. I try to counteract the restless feeling by scheduling time  for a run or yoga session at some point during the day. I used to have the tendency to work straight through lunch, but now lunch breaks are something that I’m sure to pencil in. I take regular breaks now, just like I would in the office.

Day to Day

For me, an average workday looks like this: I log on to the VPN server and check my email. Then I make a to-do list starting with the most important project and then check in with my manager to make sure we’re on the same page. My daily tasks include editing, making graphs, creating InDesign templates, updating our production tracking spreadsheet, setting up workshops and proofreading emails to clients. I try to take two short breaks, one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon, and I have lunch around 12:30 p.m. every day. Sometimes I eat at my desk while editing and then go for a walk with my dogs or run during my self-imposed lunch break. In the afternoon, I’ll call one of my coworkers to catch up, and I’ll end the day by updating my supervisor on projects.

The key is to stay productive. If you can manage your time well, then you might enjoy the perks of working from home.

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