Friday, April 23, 2010

Making Work at Home Work

     I have worked from home numerous times over the past 9 years as a stay at home mom. But everytime it failed, it is hard to focus with kids screaming, baby crying, or just the constand demand for attention. Thats not counting the laundry and dishes that always seem to be calling my name. I would fall behind in my deadlines, be on a conference call when a kid would wake up from his nap, or just in general feel guilty that I am neglecting my family.

     So I went back to work outside the home, with only one child not in school full-time I thought it was doable. Then kids get sick, activities come up, childcare falls through, and a million things happen and then you look and Summer Vacation is almost here, now what? When childcare is going to be more than you income it doesn't work.

     As much as I wish we could live on a single income, cutting back and saving money can only go so far. Living paycheck to paycheck isn't enough when an emergency comes up. Now I have to look at working from home again. But this time it's different. Here are what I learned I need to do to make it work:
  1. Work as an employee for a Company.  There really are legit companies that are hiring work from home employees.  Always check a company out with the Better Business Bureau and never pay an upfront fee for "placement services".  Some Companies may require and equipment fee or require you to pay for a background check, always check a company out before paying any money.    Working as an employee gives you a set schedule you have to commit to follow, it makes it easier to stick to.
  2. Set up an office.  No a computer in the bedroom or dining room is not a home office.  Your office should be seperate from the main living area or the childrens play area.  Background noise must be the same as in a traditional office, road noise, children, and dogs barking are not acceptable when you are on call with a client or customer.
  3. This has to be a family decision, your spouse must be 100% on board with this and be willing to pick up extra duties.
  4. Work opposite schedule of your spouse or hire a baby sitter.  Yes hiring a baby sitter does seem to defeat the purpose of working from home.  But there must be someone to supervise the kids (and keep them away from your office while working).  Hiring a part-time babysitter to watch multiple kids is usually cheaper than paying for daycare and you have the peace of mind knowing you are right there if there is an emergency. 
  5. Have set working hours and stick to them!  Don't allow yourself an extra hour working when you should be spending time with your family, and don't decide that you would rather go to the park then work in your office.  You have to be disciplined and stick to the schedule.
  6. Dress for work, don't enter your office in your pajamas, be dressed to the shoes.  Looking professional will help you be professional.  It also helps you and our family understand that you are working, just as if you were going ot an office outside the home.  
  7. Most of all remember why you are doing it!
If you think that you can follow all of these guidelines then check out some of the work from home companies I recommend below:
     Home based telephone agents.  Requires updated computer, headset, and other client based requests.  May requore a fee for background check.
   Similar to Alpine Access