Who does not dream of being their own boss and working from home. Would it not be nice to have no one watching over your shoulder? Yet, still opinions differ on the blessings of working from home. I guess you could say it is heaven for some people, but could be hell for others. What are the most important advantages and which are the pitfalls? Here under I am going to list the benefits of working at home and will also pay attention to the traps you should avoid. To start with, here are the big benefits:
Home workers are more productive
Home workers are more productive than office workers: the vast majority of the employees indicate that they spend as many or more hours than on a comparable day at the office and more than 90% do as much or more work. Only a small minority performs less at home than at the office. Makes you wonder why not many more people are allowed to work from home, although their numbers are slowly rising. Your productivity rises as your efficiency increases, which leads me to the next point.
Mind you, you will need some form of discipline attached to your working regime. For me it works best, when I start the same time every morning after my chores and finish somewhere in the evening, every working day. In the weekends I do less as I have a family life too.
Working from home is more efficient
The hours worked at home are spent more efficiently, mainly because there are less distractions. You likely will not be in a noisy environment with telephones ringing constantly, people talking or coming for a chat, bosses having requests, meetings and more. All of this will not be present at your home, if you choose a room for yourself, separated from your wife/partner and kids and only your hand-phone and computer active. The majority of people can therefore apparently work better, be more efficient and produce more at home than at the office.
I am now working from home for some three years. I find that I work best if my wife is doing her business outside the house and the kids are at school so that I am left completely alone. My level of concentration is deepest in this situation, it lasts longer and I also find that time flies. This is not a problem as I look back at what I had accomplished in the past several hours. Sometimes I work as much as 6 hours in a row, not taking any break, which I found impossible to do at any company I worked for in the past.
Home workers report sick less quickly
Homework lowers the threshold to stop work because of health complaints such as a cold or other rather minor physical discomforts. More than 60% of employees work at home during such health complaints, if the employer allows it. Because you are completely at ease at your home, it is easier to continue working.
This true as at home you can also easily prevent making somebody else sick, but still keep working. Now you have the chance to rest for a short time and then just go on. I have the additional advantage that at home I can stay out of the cold airconditioning (I live in a whole year around hot climate), which I cannot prevent at work and which may keep you sick longer.
Working from home saves time
You do not need to rush to work in the morning and worry about traffic and being on time. Your alarm clock goes off when you want it to. You do not need to worry whether you will be home in time for (cooking) dinner. This means that homeworkers generally have more (free) time left.
I said generally as this is largely dependent upon how much effort each and everyone of you have to spend on the job.
Working from home offers a better balance between work and private life.
It is entirely up to you when you work, how long you want to work, when to start and finish. In between you can quickly put your clothes in the washing machine, or have a package delivered at home, bring the kids to school. It facilitates the combination between private life and work. Things that had to be done by my wife, can now be done by myself. A doctor’s or dentist’s appointment, no problem, I do not need to ask my boss.
Here are some possible setbacks
If you are somebody who thrives on social contacts, missing the dealings with your colleagues, bosses and friends then working in the comfort of your home day in day out, might make you feeling lonely and left-out. If you miss working like a team this means that working from home can feel less involved. This is really something to bear in mind. For me, I have family and friends and do not need daily interactions with people at work.
It is said that home workers receive less promotions than their colleagues who work in the office. You might be at a disadvantage here, as you are missing to opportunity to build a solid relationship with your boss. Of course, when you are having your own business, like I have, you will not have this issue.
Home workers are judged harder. You did not you meet your deadline, even if you had made a lot of hours to get it right. Then you will be dealt with harder for it. Your employer literaly does not see you working. He probably thinks that you have not worked hard enough for it. Of course in this case it is all a matter of trust, which can only be built throught years of working together.
Working from home is a problem. Although many home workers are satisfied with their home workplace, not everyone is. Maybe you do not have a suitable work space at home. Or you have a (young) child at home, who does not understand why mom or dad is behind the laptop all the time. Focusing at work will then be more difficult. The key here is that you have to create your own working space, where you can be relatively untouched for log periods of time. Your partner and yourself need to agree to a certain division of work and chores. It helps to set schedules.
Conclusion + my recommendation
Working from home looks like a dream to many people, but be careful it is not for everyone. If you can handle the freedom, manage your work well, maintain discipline and self responsibility, then it can be a life-changing opportunity for you. Therefore, not everybody is suited for working from your own home. Before making such a decision take a good and honest look at yourself and find out who you are.
Looking to myself I knew I could do it, but even then it is not always easy to find the drive to move forward, without someone kicking your ass. The chances of procrastinating increase and you have only yourself to come out of it.
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