To some, the thought of working from home seems like a dream job! Some see this dream and unreachable-whereas others get to live this reality. There are distinct differences between who succeeds and who doesn’t at working from home.
Working at home is a bonus for both the employer and employee. Here’s why:
· Businesses are always looking for a way to lessen expenses and overhead. Because of the need to cut costs, businesses are often outsourcing work, and more often allowing employees to work at home or telecommute.
· For employees, the need to work at home or to telecommute can range from health issues, family responsibilities, transportation and many other reasons. Many times just the lack of ability to commute keeps many from finding and keeping employment.
A trend gaining in popularity
In 2004 the U.S. Census Bureau found that over 90,000 individuals in Missouri were gainfully employed while working at home. Many of the 90,000 were between the ages of 35-54 and were high school graduates with some college credit hours and some even holding degrees from many different universities.
The most popular employment option in this group was management and professional occupations or sales and service.
With a changing economy the numbers of at-home employment opportunities have increased over the years but the need to work at home remains the same.
With growth of technology has enabled the growing popularity of working from home to become a reality. Laptops, email, portable fax machines and dedicated phone lines make it easy to telecommute and even work only from home. With the technology available, working from a home office allows an employee and an employer to benefit from both worlds. However, there are drawbacks and challenges to working from home.
Challenges of working from home
Although it sounds like a wonderful alternative, it isn’t always easy. Often the thought is that by working at home, the work will be easy, there will be more free time and a person may even think they can make their own hours. This however, is not the case.
An at-home employee still needs to have self-discipline and regular working hours. Because in all reality the only thing that gets eliminated is the need to commute. Most legitimate businesses need their employees to clock in and out regardless of whether they work at home or in a traditional office. This means that a person that works at home will need to conform to deadlines, schedules and daily demands that any job needs. Can a person work at home and do it successfully? You need to ask yourself a few questions to discover whether you have what it takes:
Discipline: Do you have the discipline to start and complete each project without constant supervision? Often working at home means working with little to no supervision. Often no team, no immediate support, and no on-site supervisor will be available. You will need to consider the domestic distractions that can often take place.
Family members often do not understand that just because you are at home, you do not have all the free time that they would want from you. Daily life can often cause distractions; phone calls from family or friends, children, TV show, housework and pets. Often these distractions limit the ability to perform and soon become excuses for missed deadlines, poor work quality and morals. To succeed, you need to enforce strict self-discipline and need understanding from family and friends to ensure that domestic issues do not interfere with work priorities.
Dedicated workspace: Setting up shop on the bed or kitchen counter will not be sufficient to maintain quality of work. You will need to make the distinct separation between home and work. To do this, a quiet dedicated workspace will be needed. The prime location would be a spare bedroom, basement or extra room that can be used as an office. This space will need to be big enough to have a computer, desk, filing area and other office furniture and stationery. Once the area is established, setting up set working hours and schedules will help create the distinction between “home” and “office”
Creating a work environment is easy. But it takes motivation to work at home every day.
Motivation to succeed
You must be completely honest with yourself about your motivation. In a traditional office setting, there are often perks that help keep you motivated. At home, the fun may wear off quick and there may be little to no interaction with other employees or supervisors to help keep you motivated.
But just like any other job, salary and bonuses are based on performance. That can often be the only extra motivation that you will have. The employer will expect quality, discipline, consistency, and results. In a traditional office environment, there’s peer pressure, and supervision to help keep you going and on target. Working from home requires you to be a self-starter – someone who can self-motivate and achieve the results and succeed.
Many times the dream can end up becoming a harsh reality. While wishing for the conveniences many people do not realize what it takes to actually succeed and find that it isn’t the right career path for them. On the flip side of the coin, many that have the right mind frame, dedication and motivation can successfully work from home with little to no problems.