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Whether you own your own business or work for your employer from home, the number of remote workers has increased exponentially in the last five years.
Working from home definitely affords you many advantages and perks, but there are also some caveats when it comes to working from home.
Some people thrive with a work-at-home arrangement, while others are more productive in a structured office environment.
This list of pros and cons can help you decide if working from home is the right fit for your lifestyle, personality and preferred work style.
The Pros Of Working From Home
1.) Working from home affords you flexibility. If you have children, you can arrange your work schedule to accommodate school obligations, extracurricular activities, appointments and errands.
2.) You will save money on professional office attire. When you work from home, you require a much smaller wardrobe of work attire, shoes and accessories.
You should still have at least one or two suits or professional outfits in your closet. However, you will save a lot of money on maintaining and tailoring a work wardrobe, purchasing new items and replacing damaged or stained work pieces when you work from home.
3.) When you work from home, you save a considerable amount of money on commuting. In addition to the costs of gas, inflated insurance rates, tolls and parking, you also save an abundance of time by not sitting in traffic.
It is a beautiful thing to be able to roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, open up your laptop and begin your work day in minutes. Vehicle maintenance costs can add up to thousands of dollars a year in wear and tear from commuting; working from home minimizes the amount of money you spend in maintenance and repairs.
4.) People who work from home experience less stress than people who commute to and from work. If you need a break at any time, you can take one at your leisure. People who work from home are also typically more comfortable and relaxed, so this minimizes stress as well.
5.) You save a lot of money on food, beverages and snacks when you work from home. It can be easy to succumb to the temptations of fast food and pizza day at the office when you work outside the home.
Not only will you save money on expensive takeout and fancy coffees, you will also be more apt to make healthy food choices when you work from home.
6.) Working from home gives most people the flexibility to move anywhere in the world. This is not the case with all companies. If you own your own business, however, you have complete control and flexibility to move at your leisure.
7.) If you telecommute, your company may pay for the costs pertinent to your equipment and utilities. In addition to a laptop or desktop, your company may pay for your dedicated phone line, headset, software and your phone or internet bill.
Your employer may also give you a stipend that you can put towards your electric or cell phone bill each month. They may also pay for printers, fax machines, computer paper, printer ink and other important supplies.
8.) If you own your own business, there are an abundance of tax deductions you can take each year. Consult with your tax professional, accountant or financial adviser for professional advice.
In most cases, you can take tax deductions for your dedicated home office space, inventory, supplies, maintenance, fees and your charitable donations.
9.) If you are self-employed as a contractor or own your own business, you can take a vacation or sick day at any time. If you work for a company, you may have more restrictions or limitations on vacation and sick time. However, you may be taking fewer sick days since you will be happier and more comfortable working at home.
The Cons Of Working From Home
1.) You may become lonely or less social if you work from home. If you have a chat-enabled virtual office online to communicate with fellow staffers, this may lessen your feelings of loneliness.
If you work for yourself as a sole-proprietor, you may need to schedule more time with family and friends to minimize the loneliness that comes from working exclusively from home.
2.) It is excessively easy to become distracted when you work from home. In a traditional office environment, you have scheduled breaks and accountability measures in place to keep you on task. When you work from home, you can be faced with constant distractions.
Crying children, personal phone calls and social media disruptions can creep up on you and disrupt your motivation. You need to be able to hold yourself accountable, remain focused and treat your home office space like a traditional office.
3.) Your living space will become significantly smaller if you choose to dedicate a room in your home specifically for your business or office.
4.) It may be hard to separate work life from home life. When you work in a traditional office environment, you get to enjoy both environments as separate entities.
5.) You may inadvertently overwork yourself. When there is little separation of work and home life, the hours and days start to blend together; it can be much harder to shut off your work brain when your office space is inside your home.
6.) It may have a negative impact on your career. If you are leveraging your employment or business into a better-paying opportunity, you may be surprised to find that many companies frown upon telecommuting.
The experience and credentials you obtain from self-employment opportunities are often overlooked during an interview. Since most of this work experience is unable to be verified, many employers will only consider your verifiable work experience as credible.
7.) It is harder to be professional when you work from home. One way you can combat the potential for a lack of professionalism is to wake up, shower and get dressed each day as if you were going to commute to the office. This little trick will inadvertently have you walking a little taller and carrying yourself in a professional manner.
8.) While your employer may pay for a significant portion of your business-related expenses, you may be on the hook for many home office items. Most employers will not pay for your desk, an office chair and other basic supplies.
While pens, paper, pencils and paper clips are inexpensive, footing the bill for all of these expenses can really add up over the course of the year.
9.) While you often have an abundance of tax deductions when it comes to owning your own business or working as a freelancing contractor, you should also expect to have a more complicated tax return each year.
Many employees, with straight forward tax returns, prepare their own taxes each year. When you work for yourself, you need to keep impeccable records of every transaction and should plan to hire an accountant to process your returns.
The tax laws for business owners are much more complex, and you could wind up being audited if you prepare your own taxes and do it wrong.
10.) Whether you own your own business or telecommute, you have to constantly sell yourself. In a traditional office setting, your boss can keep a much closer tab on your work. When you work from home, you need to check in much more often to keep your boss abreast of your achievements.
If you own your own business, you are constantly having to sell your product or service. You need to network and market your services and products every day by utilizing internet marketing, social media and word-of-mouth advertising.
Once you establish a steady stream of clientele, you need to maintain positive relationships with your customers by providing timely delivery of goods and services. Offering a personalized experience will set you apart from your competition and keep the profits flowing.
There are many pros and cons of working from home. People who have never worked from home before often have grandiose visions of how easy it is to telecommute or run a business. These people are only looking a the larger picture, and they are not in tune to the finite details.
Some small businesses end up failing because entrepreneurs are unable to balance and manage their time effectively. Other business owners miscalculate their inventory, taxes and annual expenses. This eventually eats at their bottom line and causes them to close up shop. Some remote employees have a hard time separating work and home life, and their job performance begins to suffer.
In order to work from home you need to be laser focused and motivated, and you need to take a realistic approach to expenses and time management. Working from home does afford you more flexibility, more freedom and more time with your family. You will also save a lot of money on commuting, food and car maintenance.