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The Pros and Cons Of Working At Home

Young woman with headset and computerYou’ve probably read about people who work from their homes. Or maybe you have friends or acquaintances that have work-at-home jobs. And boy, does that sound great! Just imagine getting up in the morning, walking to your office in your pajamas, grabbing a cup of coffee and going to work. You would be able to see your kids off to school and welcome them home in the afternoon – assuming, of course, that you do have children. If not, you’d have extra time to catch up on your reading, enjoy a leisurely lunch or just sit outside for a few minutes and enjoy the day.

The best work-at-home jobs

If you feel you’re ready to bail out of that 9 to 5 job, you should know what are the best paying work-at-home jobs. If you’re a computer software engineer, we have good news. These jobs earn a median of $1549 a week or $85,000 a year. Computer programmers, scientists and system administrators all earn about $1200 per week.

Graphic designers, writers and authors, public relations specialists and post secondary teachers are also lucrative stay-at-home jobs. For example, a hard working online adjunct professor can earn a six-figure salary.

If you don’t possess the required skills for these jobs, you could be a web search analyzer, a customer service representative or a tech support agent. That’s a job that pays $17 to $29 an hour. One of the fastest growing work-at-home jobs is virtual assistant. It pays $26 to $45 an hour and includes about the same duties as a traditional assistant – from scheduling appointments and keeping records to writing memos and reports. Tutors earn $10 to $14 an hour and medical transcriptionists generally get $25,000 to $50,000 a year.

The pros of working at home

The first good thing about working at home is the freedom. You get to basically set the rules, work your own way at your own pace and with your own goals. If you’re like many work-at-home people, you have your own way of working. Maybe you need to be messy in order to be creative. When you work in an office, you’re pretty much restricted to life in a cubicle and without much room to get up, stretch, walk around and do some sky gazing. But if this is what you need to be productive you can certainly do it when working at home.

We touched on this in a previous paragraph but a great thing about working at home is the amenities. It can be great to sit on your patio on a nice summer day with the golf channel on your iPad in the background while still working. Try that in the office and you’re likely to get reprimanded, which could be the best-case scenario.

Be closer to loved ones

Third, working at home could put you closer to your loved ones. If you have parents, grandparents or a favorite aunt that lives close to you, you could take some time during the day to drop by, share a meal together or just spend time chatting. These precious moments could be more satisfying than if you had an office job that paid you enough to buy a Porsche.

Enjoy the ultimate in flextime

When you work at home, you get the ultimate in flex hours. In fact, the number one benefit of working at home is probably the fact that you can work on any project at any time. You could start your day early in the morning and finish in the afternoon. Or you could start at noon and work until 10 PM. The bottom line is that you have the flexibility to plan your day, which could even include being there for other people.

Eliminate the commute

Finally, you get to forget any commute. There’s no two-hour drive to the city during bad winters as well as no nasty office politics. Working at home allows you to take guilt-free breaks whenever you want and you have complete control over your environment – the noise, temperature, décor, and so forth. Not having to commute would also save you money on gas, buying lunch or paying for a subway or bus ticket. Your longest morning commute would likely consist of walking from your bedroom to your office.

The cons of working at homeWoman working a home with baby in stroller

Like many things in life there is a downside to being a work-at-home guy or gal. For example, there is a certain stigma in trying to deal with managers who have an old-fashioned way of thinking that if they can’t see you, you couldn’t possibly be working.

No boundaries

Working at home often means no boundaries. People tend to take an open door as an invitation to come in and chat without your consent. This can break your concentration and interrupt your thinking. If you’re hard into a project and your partner or child comes in and wants to visit, it could take you 30 minutes or more to get back on track.

Family members and friends tend to think that when you’re working at home you’re available to help with other things. There will be times when you simply have to put your foot down and tell people you don’t have time for that list of things they would like you to do through the day.

It might take an introvert

Introverts generally do best in work-at-home jobs. This is because it’s a very isolated existence. Some people have a very hard time when they don’t have others they can talk with or to bounce ideas off. There may even be moments of loneliness. If you’re writing copy and need some feedback you could email it to a coworker or friend for some advice. But there’s no one you could sit with or with whom you could collaborate. If you’re an extrovert you might miss the companionship that you would get in an office environment.

To work at home successfully also means learning to work with distractions. No matter what your family members or friends may think you’re not there to hang out, run errands or sit and chat. If your wife, husband or kids need you to do something it’s tough to say, “sorry, I’m busy now” but you must learn how to do this.

How do you rate on the self-discipline meter?

How are you on self-discipline? It can be tough to stick to a schedule when there’s no one looking over your shoulder or demanding that you meet a deadline. You have to be both a self-starter and able to discipline yourself to get your work done without a manager haranguing you.

Your health

Do you typically get to work on the computer, lose time and forget to stand up, walk, run or dance around occasionally? It can be bad for your health to spend the entire day just sitting in your chair. Many people who work at home use time management strategies such as the Pomodora technique to help them remember to get up and move around frequently so that they’re not just sitting at their desks and stagnating.

A blessing or a curse?

As you have read, being a work-at-home guy or gal can be either a blessing or a curse depending on your personality and your social needs. There are countless numbers of people who have found happiness working at home, while there are many others champing at the bit to get back into an office. Which of these would you be? That’s a question only you can answer. But before you walk out of that office door, jump in the car and drive home for the last time, it’s important to weigh both the benefits and disadvantages so that you will make the best possible decision.

Watch out for work-at-home scams

As mentioned above, there are good, legitimate work-at-home jobs. But there are also scams you need to be aware of including one called reshipping as explained in this video.

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