I have worked from home for nearly eight years now, as a Market Research interviewer. I must say that I prefer it to conventional employment. One has the advantage that you can fit work around other domestic or social arrangements. The work is varied. Sometimes one is required to go out knocking on doors, at other times one may be given a list of names and addresses that can be contacted and often interviewed over the telephone. This is great in the winter. If the view from the window is not particularly encouraging, then the latter option is the one to choose.
Most market research companies find it hard to recruit and keep interviewers, so that there is always plenty of work about and one can often pick and choose the type of job best suited to you. I am fortunate that I have adequate space as there are only two of us at home nowadays. No longer any children to distract me, or ‘Borrow’ essential bits of paper etc. I have been working from a desk in our bedroom but am about to remove the whole ‘Works’ downstairs to my own office, isolated from the rest of the house.
An essential tool is an answerphone, as field managers and supervisors get fed up with not being to obtain an immediate confirmation of your availability. They don’t have time to keep ‘phoning and will eventually drop you from their list of ‘Regulars’. A fax is very useful but not essential. So far, few firms seem to use E-mail for contacting interviewers.
It is essential to be self-motivated when working from home. For instance if you have a job that must be done by knocking on doors and you don’t feel like it for all sorts of reasons, you must nevertheless discipline yourself to get it done in the agreed time or you will have let the firm down and worse still, you won’t get paid. This behaviour can only bring on an obvious ‘Disaster’ eventually. i.e. nobody will commission you to do any work and of course you won’t earn any money - The whole point of the exercise. Market Research is like most home based work, it is done on a self-employed basis.
One of the disadvantages of working at home is of course that friends know you are there and will occasionally ‘phone or call when you should be working, or there may be something on the ‘Box’ (TV or Internet) which tempts, so self discipline is essential.
I am near retirement age so my outgoings are modest, plus I have other sources of income which means I don’t have to ‘Break-My-Neck’ as they say, and this helped when I was getting established. Working at or from home is novel for me as in my previous ‘Lives’ I worked at first for many years, in the retail photo and hi-fi trade and latterly as a director of a firm that manufactured and marketed bespoke fitted bedroom furniture. Both interesting careers, but the last one in particular by it’s very nature, was of necessity, highly structured. i.e. one had to be at certain places at the required time, appointments had to be kept and I had to be available in order to advise colleagues, attend meetings and to make or confirm decisions.
I feel that it is essential for anyone contemplating this or any other form of homework to consult carefully and thoroughly with others who are similarly occupied. To try, if possible, and do a trial period of some sort, in your chosen medium. Do your sums carefully, and last but not least, seek the consent and support of one’s ‘Partner in Life’.