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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Choosing to Telecommute

Dear Sue: I am looking at making some changes in my work and looking at a job with the option of doing my work at home. I like the idea of working at home some of the time, but Iím not sure how I feel about never having to leave the house again. Does working at home work for most people? Homeward Bound

Sue Says: The thought of working at home is appealing to most people, and for good reason. The thought of having more time to spend at home with family is at the top of the list. While many women make the decision to work at home to be with their young children, it can be challenging when you have small children at home with you.

When people look at the amount of time spent commuting, going to work without ever stepping out of the house is a time saver and a stress reducer. The pace is slower; you arenít burdened with people problems, and have more time to yourself.

If you are used to working alone, motivated to do your work, and a self-disciplined, then youíll probably do just fine. However, if you thrive on the energy of others, are easily distracted, have trouble prioritizing, and difficulty setting boundaries with others, your stress level might go up instead of down.

Before you make a decision, evaluate yourself:

  • Do you have enough self-discipline to set, and stick to, a regular work schedule? Will you be able to resist doing other, non work related tasks, and get your work done during work hours?
  • Will you be motivated to get up and get to work with no time clock to punch, and no one to reprimand you if you donít start work on time?
  • Will you able to say no when friends and family try to make you feel guilty for working instead of paying attention to them?

Your success will depend upon the environment you choose; is your home set up for a home office? Do you have space to create a designated work area that will be off limits to everyone but you?

Set yourself up to succeed. Consider the following:

  • Install a phone line designated as your business line. You are the only one who should answer this phone.
  • Set up voice mail.
  • Create an e-mail address specifically for your business
  • Get up at the same time each day.
  • Establish regular work hours and breaks; begin and end your day on time and try not to work during non-working hours.
  • Keep your work area clean and tidy.
  • Shower, shave, do your hair, and get dressed for work each day. Not only will you be prepared if you need to run out to deliver something or attend an impromptu meeting, but you will feel more like working than lounging when youíre out of your pajamas and wearing regular clothes.
  • Stay involved; attend networking and other industry-related events, and get out for breakfast or lunch and stay connected with people.

There are millions of people who have made the decision to work from home, and more and more people are joining them by doing the same. It may be challenging at times, but you can make it work if you want it to. Youíll never know if you donít give it a try.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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