Have you heard about working from home?
Working at home is something that gets more and more popular for a variety of reasons. Some people love it, some people don’t even want to hear about it. But before you decide which category you belong to, let me tell you about all the pros and cons of working at home.
You Are Truly Independent
Working at home usually means you have your own business. Maybe it’s something small – for now – but you are the boss. Thus, you don’t have anyone to tell you what to do. No one to yell at you, because you’re 5 minutes late, no one to judge the way you do things. No one to have to appease when they’re wrong and you just can’t say it to their face because they’re the boss. Even if most times you know you’re better than them and you wonder how they managed to take this position.
You get to decide the projects you want to start and when to start them. You get to decide when you’ll do what, based on your critical thinking and how long you estimate the project will take. And if you’re wrong, there’s no one to yell at you for that. You learn and the next time, you’ll get better.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting fired ever again. Because, unfortunately, it’s not always the case that if you’re good enough, you’ll not get fired, that you’ll have better treatment, more bonuses. Sometimes, nepotism wins and you’ll get fired so that the boss’s son, daughter, or third cousin will take your place – even though they do half the work you do.
Being independent, though, means that you have to take the final decisions. This weight will fall on your shoulders. And even though you can ask advice from others – maybe other entrepreneurs or counsellors you know – it’s up to you to decide what is the best for your business and to live with the consequences of it.
Of course, these decisions are not life or death situations – we’re talking about business and usually, by the time you have to take serious decisions, you may employ some people that are knowledgeable about these matters.
But, there is always the worst-case scenario. There is always the possibility that your business will fail, that you won’t do your work well – or something else will get messed up – and there will be no one to blame for this. No one to fire because they have messed up your business. The success or not of your business will be totally up to you.
And then, you have two choices. Either to start from the beginning or to work for someone else. And going back to 9 to 5 is never easy. (Like it was easy to begin with…)
The Sky is the Limit
The more and the smarter you work, the more you earn. There’s no limit to how much you can earn, contrary to working on a company. And you’ll never have to worry about getting that promotion because this is the only way to get more money. You’ll never have to feel like you’re at a dead end because the job you chose to do can’t possibly give you the money you want or the life you want.
And with the money that comes, a lot of things you wanted to do and you never thought you would, now they are possible:
- Travel? Check!
- Financial Security? Check!
- Helping Family and Friends? Check!
- Helping Others? Check?
Money doesn’t bring happiness, but they can make your life a lot easier. They can help you get or do things that make you and your close ones happier and less stressed. You’ll never have to worry about these last days of the month when the salary is just not enough.
On the downside, there is no stable income. If something goes wrong, especially in the beginning, when you probably won’t have money aside, you’ll have a problem. You don’t have the luxury of getting a standard income every month – even if it’s not a lot of money.
If you want to start working from home, then you’ll have to make sure that your business is a successful one if this is the only source of income you have. So beware of the scams!
3. Work Hours
Working at home gives you the freedom to work whenever you want.
– Are you a morning person? You can start working at 8am.
– Do you prefer working at night? Then you can start working at 10pm.
You can fix your schedule however you want it. Prioritise however you feel it’s the best for you. You can work as much as you want every day and even work a lot on some days and almost not at all on others. So if you prefer to work 15 hours from Monday to Wednesday and have Thursday to Sunday free, you can do it.
This allows you time for more things. You can organise your day in a way to minimise the wasted time. A lot of time gets wasted because you don’t have the time to be productive in the available time slots. For example, if you finish working at 5pm and have to go to the gym at 7, you’ll probably have a problem. After you leave work, you have to go home, eat, change and relax a little bit. After that, you may have 30-45 minutes before having to leave for the gym. It’s not like it’s enough time to be productive. So you won’t do anything important; you’ll watch a little TV or stay on the couch until it’s time to leave – or both.
If you have everything arranged based on your schedule, you can eliminate these useless time slots. And if there’s an emergency, you can change your schedule on the fly since it’s up to you. If you prefer to change the way you ‘re working so that you won’t be bored, you can do this, too.
Everything is up to you.
Work Never Ends
But you have to put some limits so you’re not all work, work, work.
You see, when there’s not a fixed schedule that someone else tells you that you HAVE to follow, it’s easy not to follow it. Because there’s always more work; one more project to start, one more article to write, one more video to create, one more bug to fix.
Eventually, you leave aside everything else to keep working. Things that you shouldn’t. For example, relax time is something you need. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Sleep is something you need. You need to sleep a certain amount of hours every day to stay healthy. Exercising, going for a walk, spending time with friends… all these are necessary for a good life.
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t do it. It’s all about balance. I’m just saying that it’s easy to fall into the trap of leaving everything else for tomorrow. Because there’s always another tomorrow.
When creating your schedule, set some time aside for non-work-related “tasks”. Things that may not be time-sensitive to be done, but they are necessary for your mental – and overall – health.
4. Work Environment Effects
Working with others always increases your stress level. Coworkers, customers, bosses… The odds are that some of them won’t be easy to work with.
Deadlines you have to keep, projects you have to finish on time, customers that complain, coworkers that aren’t as good as you are or they’re better and snobby, people that want to take your place, coworkers that are worse than you and try to “help” you make mistakes. Rules that shouldn’t exist in the first place, because they’re not fair or applicable and YOU have to explain these to outsiders even if you don’t agree with them. And on top of that, you have to make it look like you stand by them and you believe they should exist.
Do I have to keep going? The point is there are too many reasons to get stressed.
Working from home reduces the level of stress that is caused by all these, by reducing the number of people you interact with and having you set the deadlines and the rules.
Working on your own means that you HAVE to WORK – you can’t have somebody else do it – at least, without paying them – or just go to the office and spend your time pretending to work and make money from it.
If you’re not up for some serious work, then you probably can’t start something on your own. The only way I see around it is if you have already money you want to invest. Then you can start a business and hire others that are good at it and willing to work for a salary. (In this case, make sure the salary is a good one so that they won’t be lazy all day long pretending to be productive.)
But I guess this isn’t the case. So let’s see how you can be more productive.
When you have to GO to work, you have an inner alarm that says: “Now, I have to work”. This alarm is not easy to go off when you’re with pyjamas at home and sleeping an extra hour won’t have anyone firing you.
To start being more productive, here are some tips I can offer you:
- Make your daily planning the night before
This way, you’ll know what you have to do every day and when you wake up and start working, you don’t have to wonder. You can just get the first thing from your list and start.
- Get off your pyjamas
I’m not saying you should wear a costume, but even wearing something casual – not clothes you sleep with – can get you into work-mode.
- Turn off distractions
Get your mobile into silent mode so that you won’t get interrupted. Make sure, though, to check it sometimes for any important missed calls. If you can’t turn it off – for example, if you’re a parent, and something happens, you should be able to answer your phone at any moment, at least turn off the internet. No hospital or teacher will try to reach you on Messenger or Twitter.
Mmm… That’s a difficult one.
Let’s start with working somewhere else – not at home. Maybe a company, a restaurant or a library. You have your main tasks, but you also have to answer to everyone who asks you something, you have to attend meetings, maybe work with others on some projects and have to find time on your day for them.
And I won’t even mention that there may be outsiders that come to you for random questions – within or without your job description. Of course, you should help them, but this distracts you from your job, and then you have to spend time to focus again.
On the other hand, it’s much better working at home, right? It is, isn’t it?
Let me start with the fact that you have more control over your interruptions if you live alone or with someone who understands that you try to work. Then everything is great. You can put your mobile on silent mode and turn off notifications. You won’t have endless useless meetings and coworkers bothering you with the latest gossip or ask you a million questions for their project.
But there’s something that most people in your life won’t understand easily – or at all.
"Just because I don't go to work, that doesn't mean I'm not working!!!"
It’s difficult for people to understand that you have set some time aside and you’ll have to work on these specific hours. People assume that because you don’t work for someone else, they can interrupt whenever and there won’t be a problem. Aaarghhh…!
You Are the Master of Everything
Working from home allows you to learn every part of your job. Every aspect of your business will be handled by you.
This helps you become good at managing everything and improve every part of the process because you know how the rest of it gets affected by even the slightest change.
Also, when you have full control over a project, any misunderstandings are eliminated since you know everything. That’s very important because, a lot of times, when working with others, lack of communication is a key factor to failure.
But, now, not only you reduce the chances of failing, but also, every time you fail at something; a project, a decision, anything, you still earn something. You gain the experience that is necessary to move forward.
You Do Everything
If you start working for you, then you have to learn all the phases, all the parts of your business.
But this comes with a downside, as well. If you were working with other people, each one would have to specialise on something, to know well only a part of the business. Now, you have to learn EVERYTHING and you have to get good at it if you want to have a successful business.
Something that it’s easier said than done because it takes time to get good even at one job, let alone all of them that are needed for your work.
Also, not having coworkers prohibits you from asking for help from somebody. You have to learn a lot on your own and you don’t have anyone to explain details to you about your projects.
So if you want to start working at home, find a community online that allows you to be part of it while growing your business. There, you can ask any questions you need.
7. Other People
No Annoying Colleagues
Having people at your workplace that make you feel miserable doesn’t do wonders for your productivity. And there are always some of these people. In every job.
People who don’t want to work and are being lazy, people who want to gossip, people who hate their job/boss/life and they want to complain about it. Like anything productive ever comes out from complaining…
But if you’re not careful and set some limits, all these will come to you every day, because they believe you’re ok with it. That you’re ok with wasting your precious time to listen to them.
The thing is that it’s difficult to set some limits if you don’t want to be rude. If they see you’re not telling them to bug off, they’ll keep coming. And if you tell them that you have a job to do and you want them to leave you alone, you’ll be the rude one!
Plus, if you’re not careful, your boss may put you in the same category as them. The lazy complainers. And then say goodbye to promotions, big projects or pay raises.
Sometimes, you want to have a talk with someone that has the same job as you, someone who knows what you’re going through. Well, it’s not easy to find someone like this when you work alone. And unfortunately, if you’re not surrounded by entrepreneurs – I guess not – it can get lonely.
Because working at home takes an incredible level of self-discipline and people don’t get that easily. Even when you may start making double or triple the money they make, they still believe that what they’re doing is more difficult. And it may seem like this in some ways. Working at home is less stressful and you have more freedom, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its challenges.
Not that they’ll change, of course. They’ll keep doing the same job they’ve done for the last years, even though it offers them less money and they believe it’s more difficult from yours.
Thankfully, there are online communities where you can find people to talk if you’re starting your online business. (The one I’m usually on is Wealthy Affiliate, the platform where I started training as an internet marketer.)
No Reason for Work Clothes
Working at home gives you no reason to wear or even have work clothes. You can literally work on your pyjamas. You can wake up, sit on the chair, open your laptop and start working.
I have to say, though, that sometimes I like to wear something more “professional” to get on work mode; a little sign to myself: “Now, it’s work time”. Not something too much, just something that’s not pyjamas. (One of my ways to be more productive.)
You Have to Buy Some Equipment
You may not need work clothes, but if you work at home, you need everything else that your employer provides you and maybe some more.
For example, if you work at a restaurant, then all you need is work clothes and you’re ready to work.
Working from home requires a computer. And if you work a certain amount of hours, you also need a desk and a chair; preferably, an ergonomic one. Sure, you can improvise – I’ve done it a lot. But health is important and you should take care of it.
After a while, you’ll see that you’ll need more things to make your life easier. A whiteboard, for example, for planning and brainstorming. Some tools that will make your work easier. These are things you have to buy with your own money. The good thing that most of them are not necessary; they just help a lot.
Work Wherever You Want
And here we are, on my favourite benefit of working at home!
Working at home doesn’t literally mean working from home. You can work wherever you want.
- If this is from a beach on the other side of the world, so be it. You can do it.
- If you want to work on the top of a mountain, you can.
- Working from a friend’s house, check.
- Work while you’re on a bus? Yep! You can work on your mobile or on your laptop.
You can work wherever you want!
This gives you the freedom to start travelling the world. Since you don’t have any limitations to be on a specific place to work, nobody can stop you!
On the other side, working without anyone telling you that you HAVE to work now, it’s not easy as it sounds.
You need to have a lot of self-discipline because when you start, there are no deadlines. If you do something a day later, a week later or even a month later than you should, there is no one to tell you that you’re late.
That’s why you have to find the inner strength to stick to the plan you’ve made. To work when you said you’ll work and stop working when you said that you’ll stop. Otherwise, your productivity will be way lower than it should, and after a while, boredom and tiredness come to make working more difficult.
You have to find the motivation to keep on working – especially because it usually takes some time to start making money. You have to keep going until you succeed!
I’ll keep going with some more benefits that working at home offers you. Sorry, but I can’t find any disadvantages to these situations. 😀
10. It’s Healthier
Usually, you can’t eat a good meal while you’re at work. It’s either expensive or takes more time than you have available – or both. And who cares what you eat when you have to run all day?
Working at home gives you the time and the freedom to make your own meals and to have the time to eat properly. Also, it’s usually cheaper, so it’s a win-win.
What’s more, you can find the time to work out between work sessions.
11. Working on Something You Love
The chances are that, if you start working from home on your own business, it’ll be about something you love. Something you always wanted to start.
Most people who work for someone else, hate their job. Meaning, they hate their boss/colleagues/the job itself/the place/the clients, etc. No matter what’s the cause of their misery, the result is that they’re miserable. And no one should spend one-third of their life being miserable.
12. Sometimes This is the Only Alternative
There are people who can’t find work out of their home for a variety of reasons.
Some don’t have the time for it, for example, stay-at-home moms. Many women don’t have the option to work outside of their house, because they have to take care of their children and they don’t have someone to help them.
Some may have the time to work, but not at times that it’s convenient for most employers. Students are an excellent example, especially if their schedule is not fixed.
In any case, working at home is the only alternative they have and it’s a pretty good one!
13. Starting Part-Time
Something awesome with working at home, it’s that you can start part-time until you make enough money to go full-time. It’s a little tiring to work after you finish working, but this is the sacrifice you have to make if you want to start working from home.
The upside here is that you don’t have to rush to make money. You still have your job that gives you a salary to make ends meet. So you don’t have to worry about this and you also have some money to invest in your business.
If you go back and check, most of the cons happen in the beginning. After a while, the pros outweigh the cons. Because yes, the beginning is the hardest part. One of the reasons I like working from home is the fact that you have to be hard-working and patient to make it. Everyone who’s in for the easy money without having to work, they’ll give up before they have a chance to succeed.
It’s up to you to decide what you prefer. But if you decide you want to start working at home, check out my story on how I started working from home.
Let me know what you think about working at home and tell me what else I forgot in my article. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer! Any suggestions are always welcome, so tell me about topics you’d like me to write.
See you next time!