Telecommuting, or working from home, is a great option for those seeking flexibility and greater job satisfaction. I want to strongly urge black women to seek this option for themselves as a means of leveling up career-wise. Working from home can reduce work-related stress and allow black wives and mothers to support their families better while simultaneously affording the woman the opportunity to grow a side business of her own.
Having worked from home exclusively for five years, I can say without a doubt that I love being able to earn a full-time salary while also being available to my family in case something happens. None of us plan on it, but sudden trips to the pediatrician happen. The school nurse may send your sick child home. Or, the weather might be glorious and you decide on an impromptu beach day. It’s great to be able to shuffle work duties around as needed in these instances.
Telecommuting is also less stressful than working in the office. Many of the tropes that get attached to black women in the workplace become easier to dodge when you don’t have to see your coworkers on a regular basis. The convenience of working from your home environment could also boost your productivity because at home there are not nearly as many distractions as one might find in the workplace.
The assumption is often that employees who telecommute should be monitored more closely because they are not as productive/responsible as the ones in the office. Yet, I have seen the opposite be true of myself as well as my subordinates. It seemed my level of commitment to projects went up when I was trying to balance satisfying my work responsibilities and also making time for a fun evening of movies and homemade pizza with my kids.
Similarly, I like being able to work in an environment that is comfortable without being monitored, as what often happens in office environments. Micromanagement can often interfere with work processes, and at home without a boss walking by my desk ever so often, my work processes become streamlined.
Lastly, and probably my favorite reason to advocate for more black women working from home: the extra time you have between work tasks for your primary job can be used to build your own business. Everyone has additional skills they can rely on for generating income. By day, many of us earn a steady income based on our education, skill set, or a combination of both. But inside each of us is that inner dancer, vocalist, chef, exercise guru, jewelry maker, or cosmetics enthusiast.
Those additional talents and skills can be monetized into anything – hair tools or products, books or literature, a web series, art, music, and the list goes on. As a woman is working from her home environment, she may more easily be able to identify within herself what her true passions are, and scheduling time to explore those is a little easier with a flexible, work-at-home schedule.
This flexibility, on top of all that it affords my family, has allowed me to steadily grow my side business while still contributing to my household, which satisfies all of my professional needs, not just the obligations I have to my employer.
Great industries to look for telecommute work in include any type of contract creative services such as graphic design or technical writing, teaching (with a state-issued credential, master’s degree or higher), project management, computer programming, and data analysis. As you move closer toward the reality you have been envisioning for yourself, you might find that a work-from-home job eases some of the burden of balancing competing professional forces until the time comes that you can make your side hustle your main hustle.
Antoinette is an online curriculum designer who moonlights as a author, editor, podcaster, and yogini. When she is not designing courses, authoring books, or recording episodes for her podcast, she is enjoying life with her husband and two children. Find her on Instagram @msantoinettechanel.