If you’re an introvert, you’ve probably seen the meme that said “Introverts, UNITE, but separately in our own homes.  I’m sure we never thought it would look like this! Here’s an interview with a work-at-home mom (who also happens to be my wife) with some tips for telecommuting.

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It’s every introvert’s dream to work from home, right? Well maybe so, but maybe not. I have worked plenty at home whether that be putting in some extra hours for my job or working on my blog and book or helping my wife out with her business. However, I have not been regularly scheduled at home for my full-time job like I have been this last week. My wife, Cari, on the other hand, has had her own business ever since we started having kids many years ago and she’s seen the good and the bad working from home. Cari is a photographer, graphic designer, marketing expert, mom of three and also a fellow introvert. She has experienced the busyness of being a mom while working with customers and continuing to build her business.  She has had to figure out work boundaries with her family, extended family, friends, community members, and others. She has also had the struggle of finding that needed quiet time for work as an introvert. This past week she has also had the four of us at home and the quiet time can be hard to find.

As many are now finding themselves telecommuting I thought I’d ask Cari a few questions as it relates to managing working from home especially as an introvert so that we can benefit from her years of experience.

How long have you been working from home?

“I’ve worked from home for more than 16 years – with everything from babies and toddlers, employees working with me in my home, and right now, with two teenagers, a preteen, and my husband all home together!  


I’ve also had different responsibilities and job types during this time, including being paid for working on an hourly basis, being a project-based independent contractor, and even managing an online store with regular hours and phone & chat-based clients.” 

What do you like most about working from home?

“I love the independence of working from home, and for the most part, being in charge of my own schedule and projects to focus on – of course, depending on what my clients need at the time. Even in an hourly situation, you do have a certain amount of autonomy (unless your husband is also working from home and shares an office space with you, haha!)”

What do you need as an introvert?

“For me, it’s hard to focus in a chaotic environment, especially when there are a lot of distractions.  When you’re home, distractions can come in the form of children and spouse, household chores, friends, Facebook, Amazon, or whatever you are paying attention to that isn’t work.  If I can quiet those distractions, and surrounding noise, I’m more able to focus on the work at hand.  


Several years ago, I had a wise boss who used to say, “If you’ve got something that is taking all of your attention, go take care of that thing, then come back and focus on work.” Take care of your distractions, and then work hard while you can!”

What are the particular challenges that you’ve experienced over the years?

“It’s great to work from home as an introvert when you’re home alone, but when you have a houseful of people in the same space, things get a little more tricky. You have to set up some expectations and boundaries to make sure everyone is entertained and fed, but also not interrupting you every 2 minutes.  When I worked from home with small children, my headset had a red light, and the kids (probably about 3 and 1 years old at the time) knew that if they needed something they shouldn’t talk to me until the red light went off (unless it was an emergency of course!). My 3-year old was pretty sensible, so he would try to quietly “act out” charade-style any messages if they needed something, like when they were hungry whatever.  And of course, there are times when your clients and customers just have to understand that you have to take care of life’s little emergencies.”

What do you want other people to know about what you need?

“Depending on your particular job, you probably need to make sure that those around you understand that you have to work.  If you are talking with customers or in teleconferences or video conferences, they may need to be in another room, or have headphones on if they’re using an electronic device. It’s helpful to make sure dependents have their needs cared for before you start (snacks, entertainment, etc.), and then ask that they respect your time at work by not disturbing you, and not making a lot of noise or commotion. Sometimes this is an easier task than other times. You can put up a timer if you have scheduled breaks so they know when they can ask for your attention.  

If you don’t have regular hours that you are accountable for, it’s a bit easier.  For example, I often stay up late to do work (the parts of my work that I need quiet computer time for) so others are not around.  But if you need to be “working” during specific times, do your best to limit distractions so you can be there for your work during the times you are accountable.”

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Thanks Cari!  I have watched Cari work hard, but also enjoy the independence of working from home.  It was an interesting and challenging week for me and probably most of us. I have learned some great lessons from Cari that I used this past week.  Even though you are home, you are still working and sometimes you have to remind yourself and others of that. Also, as an introvert, you need to find that quiet time for focus, especially if you have others in your home.

Whether you are working from home or not please stay safe and well.  Working together things will work out.

working from home

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