Working from home is a wonderful option and provides a huge number of advantages, both for individuals and the companies they work for. While this is a list of just some of the advantages for individuals who work from home, don't forget that companies will also show increased benefit from their employees teleworking or telecommuting, too! Whether you own your own business or you telecommute, you too can enjoy the benefits of working from home.
Companies report increased productivity when their employees work from home, and you as the worker receive many benefits, which are not available to people who work in offices. Among the top reasons, you should include:
- You get to set your own schedule.
When you work at home, regardless of whether you're a morning person or a night owl, your work is mostly done on your own schedule. If you are paid by shifts taken, or hours, then nobody counts the amount of time you spend in the bathroom, or makes you punch in or out. Nobody knows if you are late, or if you need to take a day off to spend with a sick child, or if you just want a "me" day. You are in control of your schedule.
- No more commuting and the time and gas lost in the drive to work.
Working from home, your gasoline or public transportation bill will go down significantly, and for people with long commutes, it's like getting an extra two hours a day to do anything you want. So much time is lost in commuting that the United States (and, of course, the companies whose employees commute) loses 4.2 billion hours of work each year (and the trend is for commutes to take longer and longer)! In addition, if you drive to work, you will save a lot of money on insurance because you will be using your car for "pleasure" rather than for "business"! Your car maintenance costs will also go down.
- Yes, you can work in your pyjamas!
When you work from home, unless you are meeting with someone, you don't have to worry about dressing up. You can work in whatever clothes are most comfortable for you. And you get to make your own coffee instead of putting up with the disgusting stuff the office provides.
- You receive significant tax advantages if you are set up properly.
When you work at home, by setting up a separate area for work, you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage, property taxes, utilities, insurance, and maintenance off your income. The tax savings can be extremely beneficial--but you do need the advice of a CPA or tax professional. In addition, if you suffer an upheaval, you can take out insurance for loss of business.
- More time for family and friends.
Remember all that time you saved commuting? When you work from home, add to it the amount of time you have to spend chatting with colleagues, dealing with distractions, and so on. If your business doesn't require you to answer the phone, you can turn off the ringer and deal with messages once or twice per day, rather than being interrupted every few minutes. Spend that extra time with your friends and family. Many times you can achieve in five hours at home what would take you eight hours at the office.
- No office politics.
When you work from home, if someone messes up, you know who gets the blame, and who is responsible for fixing the problem. Likewise, if something goes great, you know who deserves the credit.
- No boss looking over your shoulder.
When you work from home, the more relaxed atmosphere allows you to concentrate more on your work. Play music to help your mood and concentration--classical music is especially good for this! And you don't have to look busy every minute, either, so giving yourself time to stop and concentrate on a task will increase your overall productivity.
- No donations to birthdays, retirements, etc.
When you work from home, you don't have to stop by the ATM every few days to make sure you have enough cash to contribute to whatever social event is going on in your office--and nobody will ask you to bake cookies, except perhaps your children.
- No staff meetings!
If there were one advantage that would outweigh all the others when you work at home, this is it! No boring presentations to sit through, no looking wistfully at that plate of doughnuts you're not supposed to eat, and no coworkers nudging you or passing notes to try to keep themselves entertained. If you have to attend a staff meeting by webcam, you can have your favourite ebook, another project, or even a computer game open in another window on your computer, and you'll have the same absorbed look as if you really were fascinated by second-quarter projections for commercial mortgage default trajectories, or whatever jargon your particular company engages in.
- There's less chance of getting sick.
We all know people who come in to the office when they are sick because they can't afford to lose yet another sick day or personal day. Even if they try to be conscientious, they can easily spread their germs without realizing it. Working from home, you minimize your contact with sick people, and therefore are less likely to get sick yourself, and then passing it on to your own family.
See if your company has a means to telecommute, or start your own business at home. If you telecommute, get a contract that outlines who provides what (the telephone, the computer and software, and the Internet service), what your manager would like accomplished, and when projects are due. Also specify how data storage and security must be handled and who will provide the insurance against fire, loss of business, and theft.
Here's to happy days working at home!
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