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The advantages of working from home can be a long list. Are you thinking of doing business without renting a commercial space, commuting, or managing employees? Well, you can do this at home and online! Technology provides us with more flexibility in how and where to conduct business. Home-based online transactions are economical and easy to start—plus, you can run them from your comfort zone. Not surprising that lots and lots of people pursue home-based businesses and services.
But first off, home-based businesses come in a variety of forms. This can sweep you off as to which one you should consider. In this article, you’ll learn the common problems and advantages of working from home as well as the different ideas that you can start with.
Advantages of Working from Home
As mentioned, this can be a long list. But we are going to sort things out into the most important things. We’re listing 10 of the main advantages of working from home—some you might already hear of, and some might become an eye-opener that will spark your interest even more in remote work. Now let us begin.
1. Improves Work-Life Balance
In contrast to common office work, remote jobs usually offer flexible schedules. Meaning, workers can start and end their day at the time they prefer, as long as their task is done and gives productive results. This control over your work schedule is all-important when it comes to tending to the needs of your personal life. Imagine how attending class, preparing meals, doing chores, or running some errands can be easier to balance when you work from home.
2. Goodbye Commuting Hassles
Saving time is one of the best advantages of working from home. According to a poll, one in five Americans (19 percent) arrives late for work at least once a week. Common reasons for this are attributed to commuting problems, such as congested transit and heavy traffic. Each year American commuters spend about a hundred hours commuting—41 hours stuck in traffic, plus 90 minutes more during “extreme” times.
But wasting time commuting is just the tip of the iceberg. Stress from commuting is associated with increased health issues like:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Commuting also doesn’t bring out the best in people, especially when it’s overcrowding, traffic, or when the weather is bad. Passengers will be accompanied by irritated and sometimes sick people. Ditching the commute helps boost your mental and physical health. Home-based jobs allow you to get the best out of your free time—spending it in more meaningful ways like getting extra sleep, and having more time for breakfast.
Remote work does not always necessarily mean you only need to work at home. In fact, it could be anywhere. Location independence is one of the considerable benefits of having a home based business. Challenges like having jobs available only for a certain location and the expense of traveling will not be an issue. This can be a great opportunity, especially for job applicants living in rural communities, small towns, and even overseas, where available job positions are scarce.
Full-time remote workers could take their careers anywhere they want. Those who also have to move frequently can also, since they won’t have to start over at a new company with each move. In addition, it’s a great way to avoid leaving far from your family and moving to a place with a high cost of living. In short, you will no longer have to go to crowded cities just to get a high-paying career or to open a business.
4. Promotes Inclusivity
Companies offering home-based jobs embrace diversity and inclusion by hiring people from different socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural backgrounds, in addition to their different perspectives. Doing a home-based business also means that you can work where you feel comfortable and supported.
Most people who apply for a work-from-home job are those who have a hard time finding steady employment within their vicinity. This includes persons with disabilities, caregivers, single parents, and sometimes students. Flexibility gives workers time to attend crucial appointments like going to a doctor. By hiring employees who desperately need flexible working schedules, businesses choose to support diversity, community, family, and health.
Do you know that a part-time work-from-home employee saves around $4,000 a year? This is because expenses like gas, car maintenance, transportation, parking fees, work dress, and lunches bought out have been cut out or removed entirely from the spending budget. The money for the supposed expenses adds up and returns to your pocket. As more and more companies allow employees to continue working remotely, the significant long-term cost savings effect is becoming more obvious.
When it comes to home-based businesses, Global Workplace Analytics says that a typical company can save around $11,000 per year for every employee doing remote work. In the U.S. during the covid pandemic, employers are saving over $30 billion per day with work-from-home employees. A major economic benefit that could flourish as more companies make it a new norm.
6. Healthy Environment
Besides promoting a healthy mind and body, the advantages of working from home include boosting a healthy environment. Consider the 2020 pandemic; with 3.9 million employees who needed to work from home, at least half of the greenhouse gas emissions were reduced. This is equivalent to taking more than 600,000 cars off the road for a whole year!
Speaking of cars, a staggering 7.8 billion vehicles won’t have to travel miles each year just for those who work at least part-time. This can help avoid 3 million tons of greenhouse gases, as well as save around $980 million in oil. Additionally, by doing environmental-friendly choices—such as using less paper and minimizing the use of air conditioning, heating, and lighting—telecommuters can help promote air quality similar to planting 91 million trees.
7. Boost Economic Growth
Working from home boosts economic growth supports various types of enterprises and reduced inequalities. This is one of the most effective ways for business owners and workers to reduce their carbon footprint. In fact, the earth is already seeing markedly reduced pollution, congestion, and traffic during the pandemic response. These firsthand experienced results may be due to a motorist being a remote worker, added to everyone involved.
8. Customizable Office
Allowing you to customize your office is one excellent benefit of a home based business. Challenges, such as designing and decorating your desk, will depend on your comfort. Whether you simply want a more ergonomic chair or you have health issues that require specialized office equipment, you can set up your home office and make it whatever you want.
9. Increase Performance and Productivity
Remote work mostly results in lesser distractions, no office competitions, efficient meetings, and quieter noise. Not to mention lower stress and having more time due to the lack of commute. When utilize wisely, these benefits can become a huge advantage—increasing performance and productivity. Through working from home, both employees and employers can focus on what really matters.
10. Happier Career
People who work from home tend to be happier and more loyal employees. This can be a result of working with lower stress, more time for hobbies and interests, and improved personal relationships, among other things. In addition, work relationships can be more positive without the issues that come along with an in-office job. Based on reports, 72% of employers say remote work has a high impact on employee retention.
Simply put, employees will stick with their employer when they have more healthy options. Aside from improving personal relationships, the advantages of working from home include a variety of ways:
- More time for physical activity
- The ability to eat healthier
- Can recover from illness or surgery at home
- Less exposure to illnesses
- Ease of caring for a health issue or disability
- The option to create a comfortable and ergonomic workspace.
Now that we have discussed some major advantages of working from home, let us find out what possible hiccups you might face while working remotely.
Problems with Working at Home
The above list shows that working from home eliminates most of the traditional elements of in-office jobs. But as great as it sounds, working remotely could either be beneficial or detrimental. For when we try to view things from a wider angle, we can still find some problems with working at home. That being said, let us take a look at a few of the disadvantages of working from home and decide if this work setting is worth a shot.
1. Isolation Kills Collaboration
Ideas flow much faster and more intensely when people share thoughts at the office. With this, a full-pledge work-from-home may not be the best option. As ancient texts say, man cannot live alone, meaning working alone may not always be efficient and effective. While some can be easily productive on their own, others might find it difficult. Long hours of working alone with no face-to-face interaction and a lack of communication with team members can be challenging.
Spending the majority of your time working independently can also cause loneliness. The key to avoiding such loneliness is scheduling outings with friends and family. There are remote workplaces that offer team building to encourage socialization. Some include regular face-to-face interactions within online conference platforms to engage with team members. Platforms like Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, etc., let you connect with employers and coworkers through video calls and conferences. Though this might not be as effective as sitting and brainstorming ideas personally.
2. Lose Motivation
Motivation is the force that pushes us to act and think in one way or another in order to achieve our goals. This driving force is hard to find but easy to lose. Losing motivation is often because of being in the wrong place and time. And in turn, drift us away from achieving the desired business outcomes. That’s why staying motivated at work while working from home is vital.
Lack of motivation can adversely affect productivity. Though self-motivation works to a certain level, it will not always be enough to keep you going. That’s why external motivation is crucial. Working at an office with coworkers with who you share the same goal and purpose, or having a personal talk with a senior colleague can make you always motivated—an environment that working from home lacks.
3. Too much Accountability and Unnecessary Breaks
As convenient as it may seem, working at home is a tough job. The role requires employees to track their performance at work by themselves. Self-regulation is tricky, it’s similar to doing a self-diagnosis. More so, the work relies on the judgment of the employees—depending on one’s level of expertise, results can be a boon or bane.
Moreover, work-from-home employees are prone to idle around and take unnecessary breaks. This can result in longer or less work time if remain unattended. In contrast to the conventional workplace, where managers and team leaders constantly remind employees to be on the right track and perform ably.
4. Lack of Security and Necessary Equipment
Many are excited to alter from working in cluttered office spaces to their own home office. Although this is undeniably comfortable, it has two sides to it, as well as some drawbacks. Providing high-end pieces of equipment and high-speed internet connection at your own expense can be costly—a setup that not everyone can afford.
Furthermore, access to private company documents through the internet might be limited, whereas accessible in the workplace. And as such, sharing those documents might pose security issues. For this reason, various steps need to be taken, such as using private networks or secure cloud access—things that in-office work easily offers.
5. Unideal Working Environment
Work-life balance is the first thing that comes to our mind when talking about remote work. We often focus on the more time it offers for our family and other life events. But let’s take a look at the bigger picture, namely the working environment. Survey shows that watching TV is the main distraction when working remotely, followed by:
- Unstrict family boundaries while working
- Social media and other online entertainment
- Childcare and Petcare
- House chores
While they’re at home, employees still need to focus and concentrate while working. Not every household can provide an adequate working environment as an office space does. Dealing with distractions of family members wanting attention or other household errands and noises can be extremely difficult to handle.
Research shows that 65% of remote workers reported working more hours than they had while working in the office. Lack of control and working too many hours are major culprits of professional burnout. Due to having flexible hours, many employees tend to forget to clock out and differentiate between work and personal life. This leads to working longer than needed, whereas working in an office helps to set concrete boundaries between professional and private life.
Recognize the signs of professional burnout, such as delayed task completion and losing track of tasks and time. It also has some physical effects like not getting proper sleep or experiencing insomnia, headaches, illness, or dizziness. Prevent this by maintaining healthy habits outside of work, like eating well and exercising. Expert advice to turn work notifications and email after work hours. Focus on work during working hours and tune out outside distractions.
Working from home comfortably attracts tempting distractions like mid-day naps and multitasking. This makes focus difficult and the interest for long work. Plus, if not professional enough, working remotely can lead to low-quality work. So, in a nutshell, with all the different problems with working at home mentioned, if not careful, working from home can result in underperformance.
How to Start to Work from Home
Working from home is a smart choice given that you know what to expect. Global State of Remote Work research shows that around 40% of businesses are hybrid — meaning they have employees who work at the office or remotely. Since a significant number of companies are allowing remote work, WFH is becoming a popular career. While there are countless ways to start a work-from-home career, here are the best remote work ideas for starters:
- Talk to your employer
- Join a remote-friendly company
- Start a career as a freelancer
- Start a home business
Blogging, Content Writing, Affiliate Marketing, Digital Marketing, and Freelancing are considered the most in-demand and profitable remote jobs. However, these jobs will not pay you afterward. Obviously, you’ll have to give your share and put in some effort. In so, like most jobs, you have to be patient to start generating income.
As you already learn, the advantages of working from home could help you improve your work-life balance. Still, you have to be responsible in order to show quality work results. Remember, even if remote work offers you more freedom, you still have to comply with any regulations of the company you are in or with the business you want to start. And maintaining a proper work ethic will help you avoid certain problems with working from home.