The Skills You Need to Work from Home

See also: Work-Life Balance

If you want to start working from home, then you need a surprising set of skills to work freelance and earn some income. However, while many people think ‘I want to be a writer, so I need some writing skills’, or ‘I want to be an online tutor in physics, so I need to learn about physics’, those are not the only skills you will need.

You need a complete set of other soft skills to work from home, regardless of whichever job you happen to be doing. Most of these skills are ones that people do not immediately think of, but they are skills that you need to master to be able to work from home effectively.

Time Management

This is the most important skill you need to master. Full stop! Time management and discipline go hand in hand here because you won’t have a boss breathing down your neck or an office full of people depending on you. Instead, you will be doing the work from home on your schedule, and probably setting your appointments and your deadlines yourself.

You will need to keep yourself on track and organized, and that means you need to manage your time. The best way to do this is use alarms. These can be set through your phone or through a desktop app, so long as they are loud enough for you to hear them.

It also helps to plan your breaks. Too many people working from home will work for ten minutes, slack off for twenty minutes, then repeat this process. The real problem with this is not just that you’re not getting work done, but rather that you will feel lazy, which will make it harder to work.

A lack of time management will bite you in the tailbone if you let appointments and deadlines get out of control, so make sure that you know what you are doing and that you can manage your time effectively. This will make working from home easy and will also allow you to spend more time enjoying the freedom of being able to work from home.

Have a Dedicated Workspace

One of the psychological advantages of an office is that it creates an area where you are conditioned to work. You know that you are there to work, and there are limited distractions.

You do not have to be in an office building to have this feeling of being in a workspace. Move your computer. Go to a library and work on a laptop or public terminal. Just change your environment somehow. There are still distractions while you are at work, they are just not a problem.

That is because “being at work” is more about your state of mind than your location.

Communication And Communication Management

Whether you talk to your clients through email, Slack, video calls, or on the phone, you need to be able to talk to people and contact people through various communication methods. Knowing how to send a professional email or how to conduct yourself in a professional video call can be the difference between getting a job or getting a repeat customer, and not.

Additionally, make sure that you know how to manage your communications as well. You should be able to handle all your emails and contacts without becoming overwhelmed by your inbox. You should also be able to send emails and messages without getting stressed out or letting your emotions rule you.

Deadlines are missed, mistakes are made, and life happens for both you and your clients and that can sometimes impact the work that is done. You don’t want to send an email and then have anxiety build up around the answer, and you also don’t want to get a critique from someone through text and get angry around it.

It’s easier than you might think to do these things, so being able to keep a level head is very helpful whenever you are communicating.

Emotional Control

This is a theme running through every one of these skills. But there is a difference between having emotional control while doing something else and making a concerted effort to have control over your emotions. It all comes down to what thoughts you are choosing to think.

Nobody has complete and total control over their thoughts. But you do have the ability to listen to your thoughts and respond to them by saying, “I refuse to think like that.”

This is not easy. But when you are the sole person responsible for how you spend your time, it is critical that you decide which thoughts you are going to let spread through your mind.


Finally, you need to be proactive. Instead of waiting for a boss or some higher ups to tell you what to do and how to do, it you need to take matters into your own hands. If a mistake is made, don’t wait for anyone else to call you on it or figure it out themselves. Instead fix the mistake yourself.

If you think that you can go above and beyond whatever you are doing for a client, make sure that you do so. It’s always better to under promise and over deliver, because that keeps clients happy. No matter what you choose to do while working from home, you do want to keep yourself proactive and solve a lot of problems yourself.

Keep Yourself Balanced

Finally, you need to be able to keep yourself balanced. One of the best options about being able to work from home is the fact that you can work from home and, if you are disciplined in your work, you can have a lot of free time. However, it is very hard to not turn that free time into work time, and then you are working 100% of the time.

You need to put boundaries on your work and what you do during the workday, to make sure that you are keeping plenty of time for rest and for fun as well. You are working from home, so you might as well take advantage of all the benefits that can give you.

Invest in These Skills Before You Invest in Jobs

It won’t take too long to invest in these skills, and you will learn as you go. But having these skills will certainly help you get and keep more jobs!

About the Author

Shane has been a full-time freelancer for 10 years. When he is not writing articles about business, he is either riding his motorcycle or running marathons.