Both freelancers and regular employees can use a variety of technologies to work from home, and in fact, researchers say people who do it actually can be more productive than those who commute.
But people are individual, and just because something is normal or easy for others doesn't mean it's going to bring you a pot of gold and infinite good luck.
Reviewing these points will reveal whether setting up for work where you live is a good move for you.
1. Adequate physical space
You don't always need a lot of space to work from home, but you do need enough room to keep work related items private and safe. You should have room for your body to flow and the opportunity to change your scenery during your breaks.
2. Social preferences
We've been over this one--both introverts and extroverts are wonderful business assets. But introverts often do well in work-from-home settings because they're recharged by being alone for a while. At the same time, working from home requires you to be willing to more proactively reach out to others to stay connected, which extroverts might find easier to do.
3. The strength of your support system
People who work from home still need mentors, someone to watch the kids, people to have fun with after work for good balance, etc. And they most definitely need others who can answer immediate questions and solve technical concerns. If you don't have these basic resources, working from home often can present more stress than it's worth.
4. Your ability to set and enforce proper boundaries
While you might think boundary setting isn't a huge deal breaker for home work setups, drawing a line is actually imperative. People associate working from home with greater flexibility, so you have to be willing to tell the neighbor who stops by you can't chat, or to enforce the idea that others can't use your home office. Most importantly, you need to be able to set limits on you. No one's around to tell you not to work through lunch, for example, so you need to have rules for your own behavior and accountability methods to go with them. This includes being able to unplug after hours and leave work at your desk.
5. Whether you have opportunities to network and connect with others for your career
Most people who work from home pay attention to whether they can stay in touch with their immediate colleagues. Otherwise, work gets impaired. They less often consider how their work arrangement will influence their ability to meet others outside of their own company. For example, because you are not physically present, you might have a harder time finding out about upcoming conferences or miss opportunities to ask a speaker questions after an in-office event. Good work-from-home situations allow you to be proactive about filling these gaps.
6. Your ability to create contingency plans
While a good support system can make working from home significantly better, there are going to be days where no one can rescue you. You need to be able to think ahead to those moments and identify alternate ways to move forward. For example, if your WiFi spazzes, can you create a hot spot from another device or use a coffee shop? You need to be able to limit personal outages and ensure you don't make others fall behind.
7. Physical and mental health issues
Sometimes one of the best reasons to work from home is to maintain your mental and physical health. For example, if the florescent lights over your desk give you headaches all the time or you constantly feel stressed because of how others are interacting, a work-from-home arrangement might allow you to get more done while making wellness a priority. Consider everything from ergonomics to maternity and diet here.
Working from home might require purchasing new equipment, software or organizational tools, or it could mean renovating space for privacy and comfort. This isn't always in everyone's cash flow. At the same time, working from home can reduce some expenses, too. For instance, eating at home might be cheaper than the cafeteria, and you might be able to ditch car payments, insurance and gas.
9. Who depends on you and how much
If you have someone else who needs you a lot, such as an aging parent or very young child, working from home can provide the flexibility you need to accommodate them. But some types of work naturally make your team more dependent on you, too, such as if you're supervising physical work. The question of whether you can delegate or do your part alone thus is one of the most significant considerations.