This is a cartoon by self-employed and home working illustrator Ian Dicks, and like all successful humor, it contains an element of truth. No, you may not need an interview to become self-employed or to start working flexibly, but you’d better quickly get used to looking in the mirror and asking yourself some searching questions!
The freedom of workshifting is something many people dream of, but the reality is that it is much more than a change of location. Away from the traditional “office” environment there is nobody to tell you what to do, when to do it, how, why and so forth. You are firmly in charge and the way to succeed is to develop a strong sense of self-awareness. Fortunately you can easily find some useful clues in the way you work now by asking yourself some pertinent questions, such as:
- Do you work alone or as part of a group?
- How much interaction is there between you and your colleagues?
- Do you organize your own work schedule?
- Set your own deadlines?
- Work in a quiet or noisy office?
- Can you work independently or do you rely on others for support or other skills?
- Do you like to bounce ideas off other people before committing yourself?
- How long does it take you to switch off after work?
- Are you happy with your own company?
- Do your family and friends have opinions on the best way for you to work?
These questions, and others you will no doubt think of relating to your own unique circumstances, will help you identify your strong points and the areas you need to think more carefully about. The answers will help you decide important things such as where in the house to set up your workspace, how much time you want or need to spend working alone, what kind of support you’ll need and so on.
For instance, if you don’t think you can always work alone, find out where you can go for coworking locally. If you need IT support, get recommendations from people you trust and find someone suitable before you start workshifting. Loathe parts of your essential admin work? A virtual PA will help to lighten the load.
So holding up a mirror to your personal likes, habits and needs and asking yourself some tough questions will give you the best possible start to workshifting, but at least you won’t need to buy a new outfit for the occasion!
Illustration Credit: Ian Dicks