If you haven't worked from home before and considering making the switch from an in office work environment to a work from home environment, there are a few important questions you should ask before taking on a new work from home job. Whether you're on the hunt for a part time or full time work from home job, each employer seeking to hire has a different way of doing things as far as running a business with employees that work remotely.
Take a look at these 7 must ask questions to ask before accepting a work from home job:
1. What type of position is this?
It's important to nail down exactly what time of position you're signing up for. This information could have been in the job announcement but in case it wasn’t, make sure to bring it up! What are the differences between freelance, contract, and full-time?
Freelance. You’re in charge of your own hours and taxes. Anybody you work with is a client and you’re expected to bill them according to your own payment schedule. You’ll, naturally, have a bit more leeway in what you can and cannot do. You’re freely allowed to pursue other opportunities but you won’t receive any benefits or perks from the company you work for.
Contract. The line between contractors and freelancers is often a bit blurred and from the outside, it may not look that different. Contractors tend to work on fixed projects for a certain period of time and are usually paid by the hour.Once the contract is up, the company may hire them again or move on. Like freelance, workers are allowed to work for more than one place at a time.
Full-time. Full-time employees see their company as employers instead of clients. You’re privy to certain benefits and perks that come with working full-time and payment is either by the hour or a fixed salary.
2. What hours are required for this job?
Having an idea of the hours is vital for any remote position, especially if you’re going to be working on the other side of the world. For those in different timezones, then you’ll probably be expected to set up some time of the day where your hours can overlap. But, no matter where you are in relation to your company’s headquarters, you’re going to want to make sure and ask about one key thing: flexible hours. Flexible hours are essentially “work when you can work” and are more goal and action-based than time-based. For example, if you’re working on a project that’s due on Friday, the company won’t care if you work Monday at 5 PM, Tuesday at 7 AM, or Wednesday at 3 AM. As long as the project is complete, you’re free to have flexible hours.
However, some businesses are looking for remote workers who can dedicate specific time during the day to be working. If you're applying to a work from home job that require you to be available 9 AM to 5 PM each weekend, then you need to understand that while you're not accepting a job where you physically need to be in an office from 9 to 5, you are accepting a job where those set hours are still required.
If you're a new or busy parent who needs more time to focus on family life during the day, it's a better idea to lean toward a remote job that offers flexible hours. This way, you can get work done any time of day and won't need to be present during business hours each weekday.
3. Will I sign a contract before starting?
Take it from someone who has worked 8 years remotely... You'll want to sign a contract! Early in my work from home journey, I experienced a remote job that ended abruptly because the business I was working for decided they wanted to discontinue focusing on the position I was hired for. So instead of me staying on and continuing with other remote tasks, I began hunt for a new work from home job.
Always, always, always, know what you're signing up for in terms of position longevity and make sure you and your new employer sign a document outlining your role. The last thing you want is to surprisingly lose your job and have to begin your job search again with zero warning.
4. How do we communicate working remotely?
Every business out there has a different way that they chose to communicate with their employees. Depending on what time of work you're doing, communicating through email may be sufficient or your employer might have a program that they use to communicate with team members. Examples of these programs include Asana and ClickUp. I've used both of these are they are easy to learn how to use and a great way to communicate with team members when working from home.
5. How do I get paid?
While you're looking through your work contract, look for where it states when and how you will be paid for your work. Some employers pay weekly, some contractors will pay out monthly, so it's important to know how often you'll receive a paycheck. Be sure to check if you need to set up a payment account to receive payments since some employers will need your bank account and bank routing number to process your payouts.
6. Do you provide any office equipment or internet stipend?
Depending on what type of work you will be doing, you may need specific office equipment to successfully work from home. Before you commit to a work from home job, it's important to make sure you how the required equipment before accepting a remote job. If you don't have the required equipment, ask the employer if they provide office equipment for work from home employees. It also doesn't hurt to ask if the employer provides an internet stipend for remote employees since you will be using your personal internet connection when working from home. Some positions may require a specific internet speed and your employer may cover the cost to upgrade to a better internet service if needed.
7. How often do we meet as a team?
This question is something I wish I would have asked me in my earlier days of working remotely. While I do love working remotely from home in my own personal work from home environment, I have found a much better work from home experience with work from home jobs that have meetings where everyone can get together and create that cohesive team feeling. Whether it's a once or twice a week meeting, I find that it makes a huge difference. I've worked for a few businesses that never had such meetings and while I enjoy working independently, it felt like the communication wasn't there and made the job not very enjoyable.
Still thinking about making the switch to working remotely? Check out 5 Reasons to Switch to a Remote Position in 2022
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