Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Do you dream of working from home? Thinking about making the change but need a little more nudging to make the move? It's becoming more and more common as people explore options like telecommuting and starting their own home-based businesses. Let’s explore some reasons and benefits of working from home and you just might find your "deciding factor" here.
1—With the ever-rising costs of fuel, your commute can be a huge expense – in dollars and in time. Working from home decreases your gasoline costs as well as wear & tear on your vehicle. Assuming a minimum commute of 30 minutes per day, that saves you eleven hours per month, or 132 hours per year. Plus, there are no traffic jams on the way to work, and you don’t have to listen to early morning radio jocks unless you choose to
2—With a computer, the internet and a phone, you can be almost as connected from your house as you can from any office. There is significant growth in both small business ownership and in telework (or telecommuting), or working from home for someone else. It cuts down on office costs for employers and helps foster better life-work balance for employees. Many companies currently have telework options, and many more are exploring the possibility.
3—Decreased clothing costs. You really can get away with one good outfit of your choice and a few separates since you’ll only be “dressing up” for meetings. The typical work from home outfit: sweats (shorts in summer) and a t-shirt. The beauty of this uniform – it’s easy to care for (wash, dry & wear) and works equally well for gardening, walking, boxing up your online auction orders, and writing the great American novel. A week’s worth of work from home outfits at any good discount store: $60 USD. Some people profess to get professionally dressed just as if they were going to the office, but that just seems silly to me.
4—Increased productivity. There are no co-workers dropping by to lament their dating, dieting or drinking dilemmas. Of course, you must refrain from e-socializing, but it’s easier to ignore an email or limit your Twitter time than it is to dodge a whiny office-mate on day 2 of Atkins or the office party dude who wants to rehash his weekend. Plus, there are fewer dumb meetings where everybody’s late or unprepared and nothing gets accomplished. With online meetings, email and the phone, you may find you don’t need meetings at all.
5—Childcare issues are easier. Depending on the age of your children and the nature of your work, you may still need a babysitter, but probably not full-time.
6—Leftovers make great, easy lunches. No need for brown bags, just heat & eat. You save money and even if you’re not a great cook, it’s usually better than fast food or snack machine offerings. If you usually go out for lunch at work and spend just $10, that’s $50 a week saved.
7—You can set the heat/air temperature to your liking. Ditto music. Ditto office décor.
8—You can be productive during work breaks—throwing in a load of laundry, unloading the dishwasher, watering the garden. Of course, you have to avoid the impulse to clean and cook and wander around the house aimlessly, but usually after week one, you learn to separate work duties from home duties pretty easily.
9—Sodas don’t cost $1.25 each. Your refrigerator never takes your money or gives you Mountain Dew when you wanted Diet Coke. Coffee does not require making a choice between $4 a cup, or “free-but-tastes-like-mud”.
10—Freedom, in most cases, to set your own hours and work when you want to work. You can work when you are most energetic, whether that’s 10 am or 10 pm. You can take off to run errands or go see your kid’s school play. It becomes about your productivity, not about your “face-time” in the office.
So, are there any cons to working from home? Of course. Some people are not self-motivating and just cannot do it. Some require much more socialization than working from home allows. Some people don’t have the space or equipment to create a work area in their homes. It all depends on the individual circumstances. But, if you long to work from home, explore your options. Small business ownership is great but not the only way to work from home anymore. You may even be able to create a work from home opportunity with your current job. Do your research and present a great plan to the powers that be and see what happens.
Here are some resources you might find helpful in making your work at home dream come true.