Is Working from Home for Everyone?

With the rising cost of things like gasoline and child care, many Americans are considering the change from a traditional nine to five job to working from the comfort at home. While sipping coffee in your pj’s and foregoing the fight with rush hour traffic may appeal to most workers, working at home is not something that everyone is cut out for. In fact, there are pros and cons of the decision that many fail to consider when making the decision.

1. Some jobs and industries can’t work from home. While office and sales professionals may have a fairly easy time working from home, some jobs simply can’t be accomplished in a home environment . Jobs especially in the medical and scientific fields due to the technology and equipment that are needed are next to impossible to endeavor outside of a laboratory or hospital setting. So, unless you are in an industry that is home-friendly or are willing to change career paths, working from home may not be an option.

2. Most work-at-home positions are contractual jobs or business opportunities, which makes you self-employed. Being self-employed is not always a bad thing! Certainly there are tax breaks, such as the ability to deduct the expenses of your home office. However, self-employed folks often pay more taxes and have to incur other costs such as healthcare that a traditional employer would provide. Be sure that working from home will be the same amount of money (if not more) than the job your leaving, or that you can afford a reduction in pay.

3. There may be a lot of distractions in your home that will hinder your work. Parents especially who opt to work at home to save on child care costs find that their children are big distractions to their work at home position. A nagging three year old wanting to play a game is going to hinder the ability of any parent to get their work done. However, depending on the ages of your children and their attention spans, working from home with them present can be possible. It is extremely important to set rules for when you are working. Explain to them that you are working from home and unless the house is on fire or someone is hurt, that you can’t be disturbed. And, giving them art projects, chores, and something to fill up their day will help, too.

4. It takes a lot of willpower and dedication to work on your own. Let’s face it: one of the best attributes about working from home is that you don’t have a boss looming over your shoulder checking on you. At the same time, with no one to answer to, it’s up to you to make sure that the work gets done and the money keeps rolling in. Working at home oftentimes involves more record keeping as well, such as tracking the hours you must be paid or keeping expense records. Sometimes even the most successful workers in their field fail at working from home simply because they are procrastinators and work best under supervision. Be sure that phone calls, visitors, and television won’t curb your enthusiasm, either.

While staying at home is a weighty decision, certainly more and more Americans are doing it and loving it. Kristi Martin, a single mother living in Anderson, Indiana, made the decision to work from home doing telecommunications after child care costs were taking over one-third of her take home pay, and she had to miss some of her children’s school recitals and events. “Working from home was one of the hardest changes I have ever had to make, but certainly one of the most rewarding,” Kristi said. She added that besides the flexibility in hours and more time with her children, “The reduction in stress from staying at home makes it all worthwhile.”

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