According to the 2011 American Time Use Survey, employed people between ages of 25 to 54 who live in households with children younger than 18 typically spend 8.8 hours of the average work day working and doing other related activities. If you work six days a week and/or often render overtime, that’s more than 50 agonizing hours of beating deadlines, doing presentations, and shuttling from one meeting to another. While this is the reality of life as part of the workforce, don’t you wish you had more time to spend at home, especially if you have small children or are taking care of a sick family member?
Telecommuting: making your home your workplace
Twenty years ago, it was hard to imagine someone working at home while slouched in the couch and still wearing jammies. But, as companies look to cut down on operating expenses and real estate costs, more and more employees are given the opportunity to work outside the office and stay at home – whether full time or for a day or two every week. Technological advancements make it easy for business owners to set up a virtual office, which allows them to manage or supervise a team composed of members who are in different locations.
Legitimate work-at-home jobs are not the same as the misleading advertisements that spammers use to flood your email, blogs and noticeboards. If you have the right connections or know where to look, you’ll find that there are many home-based jobs in, but not limited to, the fields of business, engineering, information technology, management, media, and science. Even doctors can communicate with their patients and do checkups via secure video conferencing. There are many different possibilities. As long as you have a stable Internet connection, a decent desktop or laptop, and headphones, then you’re ready to telecommute.
What it takes to be a telecommuter
The number of telecommuters has increased by 41 percent over the past 10 years, according to the United States Census Bureau. Working at home has many advantages. Perhaps the most attractive benefit of telecommuting is having better work-life balance. Telecommuters often have a flexible work schedule. You can start earlier or later, depending on your arrangement with your boss or client. This allows you drop off your kids at school, perform household chores in between your work hours, and devote time for exercise.
Working at home minimizes stress because it allows you to avoid the following: getting stuck in traffic while driving, the watchful eyes of a micromanaging boss, an annoying co-worker, and a strict dress code. But while you may have gotten away from the typical office environment, you still need to block home-bound distractions such as your children, your bed, and the satellite TV, to name a few. Telecommuting is still a professional job. Just because there are no officemates watching you, doesn’t mean you can just do what you want. It’s nice to be able to work in bed with your pajamas on from time to time, but you’ll find that having a dedicated working room or space and dressing up casually (or even in corporate attire) will keep you focused on the tasks that you need to accomplish.
Flexibility, one of the main perks of working at home, can also be your biggest stumbling block if you’re not careful. Telecommuting allows you to work when you want, where you want. However, you might end up working longer hours than you would if you were in the office because you adjust your work schedule too often to accommodate your other non-work activities. Telecommuting may also lead to a sedentary lifestyle, so make sure to devote time for exercise and physical activities. Working at home is not for everyone. It takes more than just being tech-savvy to succeed at telecommuting. With great flexibility comes great responsibility. You need to have a ton of self-discipline, good planning and organization skills, and healthy habits if you want to earn a living from the comfort of your home.