Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pros and Cons of Working at Home

Monday is Wear Your Bathrobe to Work Day. It is a celebration of people who work at home that have the luxury of wearing what they want to work. I thought I would share some of the pros and cons of working at home and how to turn the cons around to work for you.

This week I was invited to speak to a college class about working at home. Some of them had never thought about it before it came up in their textbooks, while others were already making plans to find work at home opportunities. I talked about the good, the bad and the ugly of working at home.

I think the first pro is the freedom you have. You have the freedom to dress the way you want, look the way you want, watch TV or listen to the radio if you want to, you can do whatever you want as long as you get your work done when and how it is supposed to be done.

The next pro that comes to mind is flexibility with your time. A lot of work at home jobs are fairly flexible. For me, this is key. I homeschool my daughters and having the ability to stop working for a while to help them with a project is invaluable. I can schedule my work around my life and not the other way around. Again, as long as I get my work done when I say it will be done, there are no problems.

The third thing that I love about working at home is the money that I save. I don’t have to drive to work, buy lunches or coffees, pay for parking, buy new clothes, or pay for all those little things that pop up when you leave the house to work. I probably save about $40.00 a week just by working from home.

Now for some of the cons. Distractions. It is easy to get distracted at home. The kids want your attention, the pets want your attention, your spouse wants your attention, and sometimes they forget you are not just at home but at work also. Another distraction can be telephone calls. If you have people calling that eat up your time, start screening your calls. I have a business line and a home line. This helps to decide which calls to answer.

Another thing that can be bad about working from home is isolation. Because you are by definition alone, you have to make sure you get out of the house once in a while. Treat yourself to a coffee with friends at least once a week, go for a daily walk through the mall, just make time to be with other people.

Another “con” of working from your home is scheduling your time. It can be hard to set a schedule and stick to it. You have to be on top of your game and set a schedule you can keep. If you are working at home for someone else, this may not be a problem. If you are working for yourself, make a schedule and then make sure everyone around you knows what it is. Don’t let people overstep your boundaries. Stick to your schedule and enforce it with family and friends. Get someone to help you keep your schedule. This could be a spouse a friend or even a virtual assistant.

For me, the pros of working at home far outweigh the cons. I love to set my own schedule, have more time for family and friends and to be able to go to work in my bathrobe. I just don’t think I could fit into a regular 9 to 5 job anymore.

What are some of the problems you have with working at home? Do you get distracted easily? Are you unable to stick to a schedule? Really look at your strengths and weaknesses and get help to work around your weaknesses. If you can’t follow a schedule, make yourself accountable to someone. If you aren’t getting enough time out of the house and spending time with other people, have a friend call you on a regular basis to check up on you. Come up with solutions that work for you.

It takes a certain kind of person to work at home. If you are one, congratulations, I think we have the best of both worlds.

No comments: