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Working From Home

Working from Home...
By Sharon Housley

Developments in technology have made it possible, if not easy, for small businesses and employees to telecommute. Working from home can be quite a different experience from an office job, and many find it a preferable one. However, those who work from home may also face some of the intrinsic downsides of telecommuting. To sort out the good and the bad of telecommuting, we have compiled a list of the major pros and cons that those who work from home might experience.

The Pros

1. You can set your own hours.

Though few people show much enthusiasm for waking up early to go to work, many "night owls" feel that they are consistently less productive and attentive earlier in the day. If your job allows, working from home affords you the ability to define your own hours and work during the time of day at which you are most productive. This feature of working from home is also hugely beneficial to those who have busy or inflexible schedules outside of work, particularly to parents of young children.

2. Your productivity can increase.

Many business owners and people who work from home report an increase in their productivity when working from home. Whether this occurs because people find themselves more relaxed and better able to focus in the familiar environment of their home, or because those who work from home do not face the workplace distractions that most others do, this is a great benefit both to businesses and employees.

3. You will save time and money.

To most people, commuting is a necessary evil. However, those who work from home need not worry about being made late by unreliable trains, sitting in heavy traffic, or even wasting time in transit. Not having to commute also saves those who work from home money on filling their cars with gas or buying train tickets, expenses that can otherwise add up to immense sums over time.

4. You will be more environmentally responsible.

Removing the need to commute will not only save you time and money, but will also help protect the environment. As of 2011, 90% of all commuters travel by car, and about 80% of all commuters drive alone to work. This widespread means of transportation burns an immense amount of fossil fuels, which is detrimental to life and deteriorates the atmosphere. Working from home, however, is an environmentally responsible decision that, over time, can conserve a significant amount of energy.

The Cons

1. You might face unwanted disruptions.

Family members often do not understand that you are, in fact, working, and may interrupt you at inconvenient times. These sorts of disruptions, particularly if they occur often, can turn a carefully thought out work plan or a day's work on a very involved project into an unproductive day.

2. You may feel isolated.

Working from home can be an isolating experience, especially if you are a particularly social individual. More extroverted people may find that they are not able to go out as often as they would like during their work days. An employee telecommuting may also find themself "out of the loop." The water cooler conversation, while seemingly insignificant, can help employees bond with their co-workers; lack of such interactions may result in an employee's being "forgotten" or feeling left out.

3. Your home will not always be conducive to business.

If you have pets, young children, or limited space, designating and preparing a space in which to meet with clients may be a challenge. Even if an adequate space is available, homes do not always have very professional atmospheres, which some people who work at home may find problematic.

4. You might feel unmotivated.

Though many report that they work more productively from home, the comfort of a home environment may also make it difficult to attain a "work mindset" and begin working. Though this lack of motivation tends to be overcome by necessity, it can be a frustrating aspect of working at home to those whom it affects.

5. You need self-discipline.

Working from home requires much more self-discipline than an office job. Though everyone is prone to mild distractions, those who work from home rarely have anyone looking over their shoulder to ensure that they remain on task. Working with one's own technology and in a comfortable home environment can also make those who work from home feel more comfortable engaging in non-productive tasks that they associate with being home, which heightens the need of such people for strong self-discipline skills.

6. You may find it hard to separate business from home life.

It can be difficult to separate business from your home life when you associate them with the same place. You may find yourself occupied with concerns relating to work while you are not working, and may end up working long hours as a result. Though it is possible to create a balance between work and your personal life, some people who work from home find that it requires a significant amount of discipline.

As the world becomes more technology-oriented and virtual, adapting a work at home environment is becoming even easier. Though many people find telecommuting a convenient and time-efficient way to work, it can pose a few problems. However, working from home is overall a great option available for implementation to small businesses and employees.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.


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