Are you tired of your noisy coworkers and trying to think up new ways to keep them from distracting you? Have you ever thought about if your job could be done from home? Could you work from home even a couple days a week? Before you immediately answer ‘no’ ask yourself a few questions.

Questions taken from Telecommute Connecticut.
  • Do you have the right job? Obviously if you are a construction worker or a plumber, telecommuting is not going to work.
  • Do you have a good job performance record? If you are constantly on Facebook or talking on your cell phone, your boss is probably not going to agree to you working from home. If you won’t work when you are at work, then why would you when you are at home? Also, if you are a new employee, you wouldn’t be a good candidate because you are still at a stage where you need to get familiar with office procedure and it is helpful to have other people around to be able to ask a quick question if you need to.
  • Do you have the right home office environment? Will you have access to a quiet place to work that is free from distractions? If the only place you have to work during the day is at your kitchen table right next to your noisy toddler then telecommuting would probably not work for you. Its awfully hard to participate in a conference call when your kid is yelling and throwing food at your computer and you.
  • Do you have the right boss and organizational structure? If your boss is like Michael Scott, then it is probably a no go.
  • Are you an effective communicator? If you can communicate quickly and easily over email and on the phone, then that would be fine. If you are the kind of person that needs to have a face to face conversation, then that might pose a problem for you to work at home.
  • Are you self-disciplined, motivated and organized? Basically, are you going to be able to work when you are supposed to work and get your job done?
  • Do you have social independence skills? As an extrovert, I would fail this question. I am horribly unproductive when I am completely alone and have always been that way. Give me another person working quietly in the same room as me, and I am good to go. I would feel too lonely and isolated if I worked from home full time.
  • Are you susceptible to overwork? If you have trouble leaving your work at your work, then you might not want to bring your work into your home where you would then have no physical separation from it, making it harder to have any mental separation. You need to have time away from work in order to rest and recharge.
  • Do you see telecommuting as a way to balance work and other roles? If you are going to telecommute, you still need to give 100% to your work. You can’t expect to be able to work effectively while caring for a sick relative or trying to take care of your kids. Your family and your work deserve better than that.

If your answers to these questions look promising after you have thoroughly thought them over, then perhaps you should approach your boss and ask if telecommuting would work for you.

Sometimes it is fun to work in a new setting. Whether you work at home all day by yourself or work in an office full of noisy coworkers, I think it can help you to focus better on your work to occasionally change things up a little bit. What better place to go than a coffee shop with free Wi Fi? Nice atmosphere, yummy coffee, comfy seats. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Here are a few tips to help you telecommute from a coffee shop (or book shop or anywhere with free Wi Fi) effectively.

1. Buy a drink or something to eat. Please don’t take up valuable table space and use their internet if you aren’t going to buy something from the shop. The exception might be if you are working from a book store. I’m not sure what etiquette would dictate on that. Although if you are like me, you will have trouble leaving a book shop without completely blowing your budget.

2. Get a good seat. This means something different for everyone. Whether you want to sit in a corner, by a window, on a chair or a couch, inside or outside, go ahead and be purposeful about where you are sitting so that you are comfortable and can work.

3. Make sure you have everything you need to work. Nothing is more annoying than getting there, buying your cup of coffee and sitting down ready to start being super productive, only to realize that you forgot your power cord, or a book you needed, or any other of a myriad of things. Take a couple of extra seconds before you leave the house to make sure you have everything you will need to do your work.

4. Bring headphones. You are going to the coffee shop to be productive, so be proactive and get rid of conversational distractions before they begin. A good play list of songs or some white noise will keep you from listening in on others conversations.

5. Don’t go when there are events planned. If you go during the day, there’s a pretty good chance nothing out of the ordinary will be happening. However, if you go¬† in the evening, check first to see if there is a band or other activity taking place. Its really hard to work if there is live music blaring in your ear or if the weekly knitter’s meeting is taking place.

6. Make sure laptops are allowed and welcomed. I guess some small mom and pop shops have recently started discouraging laptops. Seems like they might be biting the hand that feeds them…. Anyway, you don’t want to go where you aren’t welcome, so a quick look around to make sure there are others with laptops and that there are no signs discouraging their use would be a good idea.

There are many more tips out there, but these are a good start. Can you think of any more helpful tips or practices?