The idea of working from home seems tempting: you can wear PJ’s all day, you can take care of your kids, and you’ll probably have more flexibility. But there are downsides as well. If you’re considering a work from home job, here’s some firsthand knowledge from people who have done it.
The pros of working at home
No more pointless meetings. Maureen Murray, who’s run a virtual PR and marketing company out of her own home for seventeen years, says that she loves not having to waste time talking to overly loquacious coworkers. ” I find that there are fewer distractions if you are disciplined and do not have children. There is no water cooler chat or pointless meetings, or people wandering into your office to waste your time. All meetings are client-related and involve driving or flying, so there is a purpose.”
No commuting. Ian Aronovich is the president and co-founder of GovernmentAuctions.org, and says that he most appreciates the noticeable lack of travel time. “You never have to deal with the painful rush hour commute to and back from the company office. In addition, you can work at any time of the day or night whenever it’s most convenient for you.”
It’s not all roses
There’s no external discipline. Sean O’Brien, Director of Marketing at Pagely, notes that some people need external influences to keep them on track. “It’s not for everyone, and requires serious ambition to get out of bed. Plus, there’s a lack of human contact, though some people are okay without it.”
Work keeps invading life. “It’s a lot easier to be distracted when you’re surrounded by the comforts of your own home,” says Ian Aronovich, mentioned above. “And unless you live alone, you’ll have family or housemates disturbing you when you’re working. When I was first starting up GovernmentAuctions.org with my business partner, my kitchen was my office. It was a nightmare when customers called for assistance and I had to take the calls during random hours of the day and night.”
Tips to surviving and thriving as an at-home employee
Have a dedicated workspace. Aronovich says that his cofounder also works from home. ” It’s easier if you have a legitimate home office that is secluded from the rest of the living space, as that allows you to work relatively undisturbed. It’s also easier if the job in question does not warrant too much creative input, such as programming and development.”
Set clear boundaries. Sarah Finks built a six-figure business while working part-time and caring for her three children. She says one major concern was that she was never “off the clock” – she found herself working all the time instead of being fully present with her family. “Organization and clear boundaries are crucial to
making [a work-from-home] business successful. It was so important for me to figure out a way to work at home so that I could make great money and have the flexibility to live the life I wanted.”
Working from home can be rewarding professionally and personally. Flexible hours and cutting down on commuting mean you can spend more time with your family, and a lack of distractions can make you a more productive employee. While it’s not for everyone, eschewing the office can provide far more benefits than a cubicle ever could.