Company employees often fantasize about working from home. With cheaper commuting costs, fewer distractions and no boss, working from home seems like the American dream. Of course there are advantages and disadvantages with everything, and working from home isn’t for everyone. But just in case you’re considering starting a business from the comfort of your own home, here are some of the advantages (and of course, disadvantages) you can expect.
The boss is one of the biggest challenges of any job. When you work from home, you are the boss. While it’s nice not to have to answer to someone else, you still have to answer to someone. Your clients need results by a pre-determined deadline and bills are due on certain dates. You are now directly responsible when things go wrong.
However, if you’re one of those people who would rather lead instead of follow, or if you have a problem with people telling you what to do, you will thrive as your own boss.
Without costs associated with commuting, like transportation costs and daily lunches, working from home may be more affordable than traveling to the office. Of course you will be responsible for paying for everything that a business needs to survive. Utilities, Internet access, advertising, cost estimating software and meals are now all on you. There is also the issue of taxes.
Unless you telecommute and receive benefits from the company, your tax and insurance costs increase. As an independent contractor, you must pay self-employment taxes, contribute to Social Security and pay the full amount of your health and life insurance policies. Without matching funds from your employer, these expenses quickly add up.
On the bright side, you can wear whatever you want (no pants? No problem!) You can work wherever you want (including the comfort of your own bed), and you can make your own coffee, breakfast, and lunch, which is way more affordable than eating out in the long run.
This is one of the greatest advantages of working from home. You can set your own hours and work at your own pace. Client meetings, project deadlines, bill due dates and balancing work and family require you to conform to a time clock in order to make money, but you will still have more flexibility working from home than you would in an office.
As long as you keep your clients happy, you are free to schedule your time as you please. If you want to sleep in until noon every day and work a little later into the night, that’s fine! Perhaps your spouse works early and someone needs to take the kids to school every morning—you are free to do that.
This one is tricky. At the office, your co-workers, the telephone, the water cooler, boss demands and client meetings distract you from your work. It’s easy to think that someone who works from home can just lock his or her home office door and work distraction-free.
In reality, different distractions plague home-based workers. Personal calls, dirty dishes, computer games and family responsibilities can steal time during the day. Likewise, friends and family often think that it’s okay to bother you because you’re home. This all depends on how crazy your home life is. If you don’t have children and you live alone, you will have minimum distractions. If you do have children and you work at home, you may have a few more distractions. The main thing to remember is that even though you’re at home, you’re still at work. Once you balance that out you’ll learn how to manage your distractions.
Like everything else, working from home definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. The real question you need to ask yourself is do you think you would thrive better in an environment where you are fully responsible for yourself and your company, or do you need that office mindset to be productive. Everyone is different, you just need to figure out where you would produce the best you.
Guest Poster Byline: Michelle is an aspiring writer and blogger with a passion for the Internet, specifically social media and blogging. She loves how social media connects people across the globe, and appreciates that blogging gives her the opportunity to voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.