Succeeding in Home-Based Employment
As businesses adapt to a changing global environment, opportunities for nontraditional employment abound. Business owners and employees alike can benefit from the flexibility of home-based employment.
Home-based employment has a unique set of advantages. Flexible scheduling can allow home-based workers to work varying shifts and hours, allowing parents and others to balance the demands of home and work life. Job-related costs, such as commuting, clothing, and food, are reduced. Home-based employment can allow workers to stay in contact with a particular field to keep their skills sharp and earn supplemental income, even when workers’ particular circumstances do not allow for full-time, traditional employment. The ease of travel and accessibility allows individuals with disabilities to work from home. Furthermore, working from home can allow for a comfortable and casual work environment.
Working from home, however, can have drawbacks. Work hours, even if flexible, may be inconsistent or inconveniently scheduled. Creating a suitable work environment and training those in the home to respect personal work space can be a challenge. A home-based work environment often has more distractions than a traditional work environment—customers or other contacts might notice background noises and occurrences in the home, such as the doorbell ringing, dogs barking, or children playing.
Many home-based jobs are part-time or do not include benefits. Occasionally, home-based employees may be required to pay for some work-related costs, such as equipment or an Internet connection. Perhaps most importantly, working from home requires self-motivation and a willingness to work alone, which can be a challenge for some workers.
Succeeding in home-based work, as in any employment, requires a strong work ethic. In addition, organizational skills, time management, and adaptability can help workers get their jobs done efficiently, while good communication skills can promote healthy relationships with employers and customers. Creating a suitable work environment by minimizing distractions and by helping those in the home understand the requirements of the work will enhance an employee’s ability to work effectively.
Opportunities for home-based employment are widely available. Perhaps the most effective and reliable tool for finding home-based work is connecting with those you know. Approaching a current or former employer about home-based options or networking with friends and colleagues who telecommute can help you discover good and reliable work opportunities.
The Internet can also be a valuable tool for finding home-based work. An extra level of caution is required, however, as experts estimate that of the hundreds of thousands of home-based work opportunities advertised online, as many as 98 percent are not legitimate. To avoid scams, follow these tips:
- For an online search, use phrases such as “this is a telecommuting position,” “must be willing to work from home,” or “work from a remote office” rather than overused phrases such as “work at home” or “home-based,” which often yield unreliable results.
- Do not send money or detailed personal information.
- Be cautious of unsolicited e-mail offers, jobs with vague descriptions or unrealistic salaries, applications that require no résumé or experience, and postings that play entirely on emotions.
- In general, do not believe everything you read—if something seems too good to be true, it probably is and should be avoided.