Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The joys of working from home

I love working from home.  I love working for myself, more specifically: being able to set my own hours, work at my own pace, and choose my own clients.  Of course, all of those things can also be downfalls if you don't have good time management skills (which sometimes I don't).

But there are consistently stories and research findings indicating that working from home makes employees happier than going into an office every day.  This is referring mostly to full-time employees, obviously, not freelancers or contract workers, but it still applies.
Working from home is better for both employees and employers.  Employees are more productive, for one thing.  As much as we think working from home is distracting, the office actually tends to be more distracting, with a powerful water cooler culture as well as many distractions that the quiet environment of home doesn't have.

More employees working from home also means less overhead for a company.  A technical writer friend of mine used to work for a company that had just a small home office where a few employees worked and where meetings were held, with unassigned desks that could be used on the rare occasion when someone needed to work from the office.  She worked from home and only went into the office for meetings and other work events.  Where she works now, there isn't even a local office, so she does 100 percent of her work from home, and meetings are held over the phone.

Between the greater productivity and the lower overhead, work-from-home employees of course mean increased profits for a company -- but it also means their employees save time and money on commuting and lunches out.

I'm sure hiring freelancers and contractors mean even more savings for companies.  They don't have to have full-time employees on payroll if they're not needed, for one thing, and they don't have to pay benefits.  A contractor's hourly wage can be higher than an employee's wage, of course, but if you don't need them as much as a full-time employee, it can mean savings overall.  And companies that pay freelancers by the job likely save even more money, because they aren't paying for all the time-wasting that employees do (like trips to the water cooler).

It's clear that working from home makes good sense, but of course that's not what I love about it.  I love that I can work when I feel most motivated and productive -- which is later in the day, for me.  I love that I can be at home for my critters (which they love too, incidentally).  I love that I have freedom over the way I plan my day, the clients I take, and the work I accept.

What about you?  Whether you are an employee that works from home or self-employed, do you find that this article rings true for you?  And what are your favorite parts of working from home?

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