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Working from Home

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Simply Hired lists the average income for working from home at $64,000 annually. Combine that with the ability to manage oneself and it should come as no surprise that almost 25% of Americans currently have careers working from home (source: US Bureau of Labor).

However, before deciding to work from home, also known as telecommuting, it is important to realize that it can be just as demanding as any other work. Be sure to keep in mind the following before making the leap.

Benefits Of Working From Home

The most obvious benefit is the increased ability to pace oneself. The majority of people who work from home are self-employed (i.e. running a small business) and so can generally set their own hours and deadlines.

Even those who are not self-employed can still enjoy the benefits of working from home. When you have one of those days where you do not feel well enough to go into the office but are not absolutely bed-ridden, you can work in your pajamas at a pace that does not require you to exert yourself. You also do not run the risk of getting your co-workers sick.

Others in careers that require creativity also benefit from working at home. A graphic designer or a music composer may have a spark of inspiration in the middle of the night. Rather than have to wait until morning to implement the idea, he or she can get to work immediately.
Stay-at-home parents may find it easier to hold a job while taking care of the house and their family, if they do not have to worry about commuting and being out of the house for a large portion of the day. Most appreciate that extra time that they can spend with their family.

Self-management, lack of a dress code, and a lack of commuting are just some of the many advantages of working from home that many can enjoy. However, as with any line of work, there are drawbacks.

Disadvantages Of Working From Home

While you want to be comfortable when working, it is possible to become too comfortable.

You do not want to find yourself in a position where you are watching TV or surfing the internet instead of doing work. Be sure to physically separate yourself from distractions. Try not to have a TV in the same area where you plan to work. If you work on a computer, fight the temptation to visit entertaining websites or play games. There is nothing wrong with taking breaks when you need them, but be sure to set limits for yourself and return to your work in a timely manner. Without a boss breathing down your neck, you have to be your own manager.

You may also run into distractions outside of your control, such as from family members. While that extra time with family can be great, your loved ones can make your work difficult as well. It is important to stress to them that this is a job like any other, despite the casual appearance it may have. In some cases, as with caring for young children, you may just have to set a tighter schedule. You will need to get your work done when they are in school or when someone else is home to look after them. This makes it all the more prudent that you not let yourself be distracted by non-work related things during these time frames.

The most important thing to remember is that your home is more relaxed than an office setting, but you are still working and being paid, either by yourself or by an employer. Take this as seriously as you would any other job.

There are many benefits of working from home, but it may not be for everyone and is just downright not possible with certain jobs. Be sure to do research and be honest with yourself about whether or not you are capable of doing it. If you are able to do it successfully, it can be an incredibly rewarding work environment.

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