Workspace. Telephone. Internet. Computer. Fax Machine. Video Conferencing. Make sure you have the home-office basics if you want to find a home-job.
In order to find a real home job, it is important that you be prepared. When a company posts a home-based position, they are going to receive a large number of applicants. Its easy for them to eliminate anyone who isn’t prepared with the home-office basics. Make sure that you present a image of being a work at home professional who is prepared to provide your services.
The first thing just about any potential employer is going to be concerned with is your workspace. They are going to want to know that you have a quiet workspace, free of distractions and background noise. Afterall, if you are going to be representing their company to customers on the phone, they won’t be happy if there are kids in the background, or a dishwasher running, or dogs barking.
If you can create a space in your house where you can close the door and work, that’s the best option. You may want to consider the background too… you may be required to do video conference calls for training, team meetings, or even customer contact. Make sure there’s no clutter!
Exactly what is required along the lines of phone / fax equipment will vary based on the job. You’ll likely need to have a phone line. Most employers will not accept the use of cell phones and will expect you to have a regular land-line. Its possible you might be able to save money here by getting a phone line through your cable company or using a VOIP line. However, some companies use systems incompatible with these phone-line alternatives, so be prepared to adapt to your employer’s needs.
Do you need a fax machine? Probably not. Especially if you have the ability to scan documents on your computer. For most tasks, you’ll be able to scan and email a document rather then fax. However, if the employer requires a fax machine for large-volume document processing, you should be able to pickup a basic one fairly inexpensively at an office supply store.
The other major piece of your home-office is going to be your computer. You’re going to need a good computer, not one that is barely working. It needs to be current, dependable and fast. You may be using your computer to access portions of the company’s website, or you may be running special software. Its critical that your computer be upto par. Make sure you have recent operating software and virus protection.
High-speed internet is pretty much a must-have. If you’re still on dial-up, its unlikely you’ll be able to perform the tasks required by most employers. Even if you have high-speed internet, it may not be fast enough. To check your speed, use the free-scan at SpeedTest.net. Make note of your results. If an employer lists the required speeds, you can compare. If your numbers are too low, you may need to contact your internet provider and ask for better speeds.
You may also need a webcam. Although this isn’t always a requirement, its a good idea to have one before you start your job search. Some employers may want to use Skype or some other type of video conferencing for your interview. If your computer doesn’t already have one, you can purchase one at most office supply stores.
Having your Home Office setup ready to go before you start the home job search process will show potential employers that you are a serious professional. It can give you an extra edge, and help you find your next home based job.