If you're wondering if a work from home job might be right for you, be sure to consider the telecommuting advantages and disadvantages before making a final decision.
Advantages of Telecommuting
- Save Time - When you work from home, you won't have to spend time traveling back and forth to work every day. If your position doesn't require you to meet face to face with coworkers or clients, you can also save the time that it takes to get dressed for the office every day. Many telecommuting workers get their jobs done in t-shirts and jeans, or even their pajamas, rather than having to dress in traditional business attire.
- Save Money - When you don't have to commute to an office on a regular basis, you can save a significant amount of money in fuel expenses. Many people who begin working from home also find that they save money on clothing purchases, dry cleaning bills, morning coffee, restaurant and fast food lunches, and more.
- Schedule Flexibility - Many telecommuting jobs provide workers with the opportunity to work flexible hours, planning job-related activities around family and other responsibilities. Often, telecommuting workers are able to work any time of the day or night, from home or other locations. Even those positions that require set schedules still allow workers to choose the work times that work best for them.
- Earning Potential - Many telecommuting positions offer performance based compensation rather than traditional hourly pay system. Workers who have jobs that pay in this manner often receive piece rates or productivity based pay. This means that skilled workers who are efficient can often earn better wages than in positions where they are paid by the hour.
- Tax Advantages - Telecommuting workers can enjoy the tax write-off advantages that go along with having a home-based office, assuming that they do not have an employer provided workspace.
- Time Management Challenges - When you work from home, it can sometimes become difficult to separate work time from home responsibilities. There's often a temptation to divide attention between household duties and work activities, resulting in insufficient attention being paid to both. Working from home requires a great deal of self control and discipline. Telecommuters have to learn to set limits for themselves as well as for the other members of their household in order to prevent the problems that might arise when work and the activities of daily living overlap too much.
- Perception of Friends and Family - It can sometimes be difficult for friends and relatives to understand that the fact that you are working at home does not mean that you are available to chat, run errands, go shopping, etc. When you begin telecommuting, don't fall into the trap of letting people pull you away from what you need to accomplish during the time you have set aside to work. You will likely have to spend some time explaining your new role to the people in your life, making it clear that when you are working from home, you must focus on accomplishing work related tasks.
- Lack of Social Interaction - When you are accustomed to working in an office environment, you have an opportunity to interact with co-workers on a regular basis. Even though dealing with your coworkers may be challenging at sometimes, interacting with others helps meet the important social needs that everyone has. Those who telecommute often find the lack of contact with coworkers to be a surprising drawback.
Weighing the Telecommuting Advantages and Disadvantages
Before switching from a traditional work environment to working from home, it's important to carefully evaluating the telecommuting advantages and disadvantages. For motivated individuals who enjoy working independently and are able to focus on work while at home, a telecommuting job can be ideal. For those who perform better with close supervision and opportunities to interact with coworkers regularly, this type of job might not be the best choice.