Telecommuting is growing by leaps and bounds, according to a new study by FlexJobs.

Remote jobs have increased 115 percent since 2005, with 3.9 million people now employed in these less than traditional roles. But, even though it’s a growing segment, telecommuting jobs aren’t for everyone.

If you’re considering working as a answering service remote agent, for instance, you’ll need to really reflect on yourself, your environment and your work habits before applying to a telecommuting job.

Some Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

Becoming a telecommuter can be an intimidating move, but it can also change your family finances considerably.

For example, the average full-time telecommuter saves an estimated $4,000+ a year on costs like work clothing, lunches, gas, car maintenance and tolls. Those aren’t small potatoes! Even so, it’s not a workable solution for many types of people, so it’s important to go into a telecommuting role with realistic expectations. You’re not going to have a lot of fun sitting around the house without pants, you’ll still be working.

Before you commit, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can you set boundaries and enforce them? Early in your time as a telecommuter, it’s possible some of your friends and family will assume you’re not actually working because you’re at home.

    It’s only after you’ve thrown enough shoes at them that they’ll get the drift. If you can’t set realistic boundaries and enforce them, you’ll not last as a telecommuter since you’ll have no time to actually work.

  • Are you self-motivated? Working from home not only requires you take a heavy-handed approach with anyone encroaching on your work time, but with yourself, as well. Can you stay on task at your job and meet your deadlines without the structure and guidance a more formal situation would provide? This is vital to success with telecommuting.
  • Do you have a place to work? Really? Telecommuting means more than setting up a desk in the corner of the kitchen and going to town. You need dedicated work space, whether that’s a spare bedroom, unused basement, carriage house or what have you. Not only do many employers require you have a lockable door, if you’re in the wrong spot you’ll quickly see how family traffic disrupts your ability to focus on work.
  • Will you miss those office parties? It sounds trite, but many telecommuters go back to commuting after they realize how lonely it can be to work home by themselves. Sure, your dog is great, but he’s not much of a conversationalist and he never, ever remembers your birthday. If you don’t have many friends outside of work, you may regret leaving them (and the office parties) behind.

Today, there are remote jobs in many industries, across an ever-widening range of job titles. For entry-level telecommuters, customer service positions like working for an answering service company, can provide a taste of life without a group office if you’re looking to give it a try. There are jobs for every level of education and experience, the main thing is that you’re able to communicate efficiently remotely.

If you are looking for more information on becoming a customer service representative or remote agent, be sure to visit our Answering Service Job Opportunities page.