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        Another AHBBO Article
        Working From Home For Yourself ... Or Someone Else?

        © 2013 Elena Fawkner

        Although many people badly want to work from home, not
        everyone wants to have to launch and run a fully-fledged
        business of their own in order to do so.   For such people
        the desire to work from home is more about maximizing
        time to be with family, physical location, comfort and
        convenience than it is about entrepreneurship. 

        If this is you, telecommuting may be the answer you've been
        looking for.


        For our purposes, telecommuting simply means an employee
        is working from a location other than the employer's premises. 
        Usually it means the employee is working from home,
        performing the same functions that he or she would otherwise
        be doing in the employer's office.


        The advantages of telecommuting are many.

        => For the Employee

        For parents with young(ish) children, perhaps the greatest
        benefit of telecommuting is the increased time available to
        spend with family.  Note, though, that one of the greatest myths
        about telecommuting is that it means you can do away with
        daycare.  That's true for only a very few, very lucky individuals. 
        Instead, think in terms of time saved commuting to and from
        your offsite job.  THAT is the time you get back.  Not your
        entire working day.

        Financial considerations are also a strong reason to work from
        home.  Think of what you can save on gas, clothing and eating

        Other advantages of telecommuting for employees include:

        => Improved productivity (fewer distractions and interruptions).
        => Helps balance work and family life.
        => Greater flexibility in hours and geographic location.
        => Recovery of commuting hours (just think what you could do
        with the equivalent of over six working weeks a year, assuming you
        commute an hour a day).
        => Fewer daytime home break-ins.
        => Environmental considerations (fewer cars on the road means
        less pollution and fewer accidents).
        => Fairer performance appraisals (you're evaluated purely on the
        quality of your work and your output, not merely the number of
        hours clocked at the office).
        => Elimination of commuting aggravators (such as obnoxious
        drivers, traffic snarls and other frustrations).
        => General stress reduction.
        => Improvement in morale, job satisfaction and motivation.
        => No need to relocate.
        => Can open work opportunities for the disabled.

        => For the Employer

        Advantages for employers in allowing telecommuting include:

        => Saving of parking and office space costs.
        => Increases in employee productivity (20% on average).
        => Reduces absenteeism.
        => Reduces business interruptions due to natural emergencies
        (if there's a snowstorm business still gets done by employees
        at home).
        => The employer becomes an employer of choice, attracting
        high quality employees.
        => Reduced staff turnover due to improveed job morale and
        => An expanded pool of employee talent to choose from since
        no geographical limitations are imposed.
        => In some states tax credits may be available.
        => No relocation costs to be paid on behalf of employees.
        => The whole office doesn't come down sick from one employee
        spreading the flu.


        Of course, there are two sides to every coin and telecommuting
        is no different, bringing its share of disadvantages for both
        employee and employer, including:

        => For the Employee

        => Coworker envy (there may be some jobs in your organization
        that don't lend themselves to telecommuting).
        => Reduced social interation with coworkers may lead to
        professional isolation.
        => Possibly fewer promotional opportunities (out of sight, out
        of mind).
        => Potential for longer hours (try and keep work and personal
        time separate).
        => Reduced IT support (who's going to fix your computer?).
        => Potential for distractions (young children, TV, refrigerator).
        => Too-frequent fridge and coffee breaks.
        => Can become a work addict.

        => For the Employer

        => Morale problems in staff holding positions not suited to
        => Startup operating costs (equipment, training etc.).
        => IT support costs.
        => Management resistance and skepticism (who needs
        suspicious, distrustful managers as employees though, right?).
        => Difficulties in coordinating and monitoring performance of
        remote workers.
        => Security of information and files when allowing remote
        workers access to company computer systems.
        => Employee health and safety issues.
        => Can disrupt teamwork and organizational culture.

        The advantages and disadvantages for individual employees
        and employers will vary case by case.  Both you and your
        employer need to weigh the above factors when deciding
        whether telecommuting is a viable option in your particular


        As for what type of work is suited to telecommuting, basically
        anything that doesn't demand your physical presence at office
        goes.  You must, however, have a boss who is capable of
        measuring results and quality of work, not just hours worked.


        The qualities needed in a telecommuter are similar to those
        needed of an entrepreneur.  Among other things, you need to

        => a self-starter
        => independent
        => motivated
        => self-disciplined
        => good with time management
        => organized.


        How do you go about finding a telecommuting position?

        Well, if you're already in the workforce, and your job is one
        that could just as easily and effectively be done at home,
        make a proposal to your boss that you start telecommuting
        one or two days a week and gradually increase the number of
        days you work from home as you prove to your boss (and
        yourself) that telecommuting is a good solution for both of

        If you're not already in the workforce or your position is not
        one that can be performed from home, you'll need to actively
        source a position that can.  Good old research, letter writing,
        phone calls and pavement pounding will be required.

        To begin with, inventory your skills and experience.  Then
        determine what kinds of positions you can do, for example,
        data entry, telemarketing, customer service, transcription,
        web design, accountant, lawyer etc.  Then grab the yellow
        pages and list the businesses that may require the skills you
        possess.  Approach them either in writing (enclosing a copy
        of your resume) or by telephone.

        If telecommuting is a new concept for your prospective
        employer, but everything else about the position seems to
        be right, consider taking the job as a regular position first to
        prove yourself then move into telecommuting gradually.

        For some useful starting points for finding a telecommuting
        position, see:


        OK, so what other issues do you need to think about?

        => Children

        If you have young children, you may be thinking of telecommuting
        as an alternative to day care.  Although some telecommuting
        positions lend themselves to working around your children's
        schedule, the majority don't.  The fact that you're working from
        home does not necessarily mean you get to work when you want. 
        If you have a job that requires you to effectively work a 9 to 5
        workday, then you're going to need to make accommodations for
        children that require constant direct supervision. 

        Once your children are a little older and start school, life gets a
        lot easier but when you have preschoolers running underfoot,
        you're going to have a challenge so know what you're getting
        yourself into.

        To make things as easy as possible, establish a schedule and
        routine for yourself and kids.  Include in your schedule the work
        you must do for your job, any household chores that need to be
        attended to and time with kids.  In fact, why not get the kids to
        help with the chores? 

        Also, don't let friends, family or neighbors eat into your time. 
        Make sure they (and you!) understand that although you may
        be home you are not available for social activities - you are
        WORKING.  Spell it out if you have to.

        The same goes for personal telephone calls.  Either get caller ID
        with voicemail so you can screen personal calls and return them
        at a convenient time or get a second line - one for home and
        one for work. 

        In terms of boundaries, remember that as far as your kids are
        concerned, you're just mom (or mum) or dad to your kids and if
        you're at home they expect you to be available to them, on tap. 
        Help them to understand that you have a life outside of the
        home and to relate to you as an independent, professional
        person (as well as mom or dad) who just happens to be around
        the house more than usual.

        Also, don't expect too much of your kids.  They are kids after
        all.  In particular, don't expect them to be quiet and well-
        behaved just because you have to work.  Try and locate your
        office somewhere away from the kids if noise is a problem.  But
        if they're very young and need constant supervision (and your
        work will accommodate this level of attention), just childproof
        everything as best you can.  Otherwise daycare is your friend.

        => Office Space

        Obviously, having an area where you can work productively is
        crucial.  You don't need to spend a fortune setting up an
        elaborate office.  If you have a spare room, great, use it as
        your office provided it's suitable.  But if you don't, an unused
        corner of the living room or the kitchen or dining table will do
        in a pinch too.  Make sure that whatever area you choose has
        good (preferably natural) lighting.

        Also (and this is from personal experience), don't try and use
        a laptop full-time even though they take up conveniently little
        space.  They're not designed for that.  Make sure you have
        an area big enough to house a desk that will take a desktop
        monitor and keyboard.  Keep your laptop for traveling or

        To furnish your office inexpensively, visit second hand stores,
        auctions, office furniture resellers, garage sales etc. as well
        as your local newspaper classifieds to find furniture.

        => Equipment

        The equipment you need (and your employer may well provide
        some or all of it) will depend on the nature of your work but if
        it's a typical office position, you'll need:

        => Two telephone lines - one for personal use and one for
        business (including voice and fax capability).
        => A fast Internet connection - cable or DSL is a must!
        => A two-line speaker phone with rolodex.
        => State-of-the-art computer (or the best you can afford --
        the best are not that expensive these days fortunately).
        => Fast laser printer.
        => Fax machine.
        => Answering machine and/or voice mail.
        => Tape or CD backup .
        => Power surge protector.

        You are going to be using a lot of juice with all this stuff so
        make sure your electrical circuit system can handle it.  If in
        doubt, get an electrician in.

        Telecommuting offers a bridge for those who need or want to
        work for someone else but just don't want to have to leave
        the house to do it.  Finding a telecommuting position if you're
        not already in a job that lends itself to such a working
        arrangement will probably not be easy but it's worth
        persevering.  If you need to work for a time in a position
        before raising the issue, do so.  After all, telecommuting is
        not necessarily a job in itself.  Rather, it can be a privilege
        you can earn by proving yourself to be a dependable and
        reliable worker in the traditional workplace first.


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        Elena Fawkner is editor of Home-Based Business Online. Best business ideas and opportunities for your home-based or online business.

        Copyright 1998-2017, AHBBO.com. All rights are reserved. Tuesday, 26-Jan-2021 03:18:34 CST