As the workplace changes with modern times, whether we are W-2 employees or self-employed, remote or working from home opportunities have come about full force.
Statistically speaking, according to the Gallup poll, there is a significant increase in people working from home. And there are even more who would be willing to leave their employment to accept remote opportunities. LinkedIn also ran a poll where they found that 82% want to work from home at least one day per week and 57% would like to work remotely about three days per week.
Some of the benefits of working from home are:
- Improved engagement with the workplace.
- Increase in productivity.
- Helping the environment by decreasing waste of items such as paper, trash, and fuel.
- More effective work-life balance.
- Flexible work hours lending to more job satisfaction.
- Better branding of the employee.
- Less time off for vacations and sick leave.
- Savings on clothing, transportation, meals, etc.
- Family availability within reasonable limits.
- Decreased chances of spreading illness in the workplace.
As one who has worked from home since 2006, from my experience, it takes a certain discipline to maintain your work from home reputation. Setting boundaries with family and friends is important. Otherwise, it is too easy to fall into the childcare and errand running status for others, as well as people believing you are available at their beck and call.
Therefore, it is important to state up front and repeatedly (if necessary) that you work set hours and what this means as far as being available.
It is important to set a schedule, shower, dress in at least comfortable clothes. This sets the focus on work vs grabbing the remote and watching movies. In the case of work from home agents for customer service phone centers from home, there will be schedules to fulfill. It will be important to adhere to schedules and to manage background noise. A white noise machine works perfectly for this.
Ergonomics is just as important at home as it is in the office. It is important to have a desk set up to help prevent carpel tunnel, back issues, etc. Also be sure to get up and walk around periodically and just breathe. I used to set a timer each hour to do breathing exercises, but now it comes more naturally.
My first job working from home was as a work from home agent for a call center based in Texas. Hours were chosen from a board and I worked a set number of hours per week, I did not have to exceed these. Opportunities to work additional hours, along with incentives would be available. As an independent contractor, I did not get paid for training. I received a 1099 for my wages and was able to deduct work related expenses, completing a self-employment Schedule C for tax purposes. Eventually, this company changed to an employee: employer type relationship, resulting in paid training and a W2 for tax filing. This changed the ability to take certain expenses in consideration as would be used when a self-employment Schedule C was filed.
Eventually, I switched to writing gigs and dropped the customer service call center work. One of the jobs was to write jewelry descriptions for a jewelry sales company and eventually to write articles about jewelry. In this job, I learned about SEO. Other writing jobs included writing blurbs for sites and articles.
Just about the time the jewelry business went dry, I was approached about ghostwriting a book about Alzheimer’s Disease. This piqued my interest as my father had Alzheimer’s Disease. I was interested in learning all I could. This resulted in a published book from this project and I learned some key points about publishing and marketing books. Nowadays, I write and am working on a poetry book as well as some other publications.
Working from home is not made for everybody. It is a convenience for many of us who, need this option. Some people find they can do their work in coffee shops, libraries, remote work centers, or essentially anywhere they can hook up to the internet, if needed. If working as a customer service agent, then this work must be from home in a secured, hard wired environment. Of course, this would also be the case if working in finance or other secure work.
Just like many other areas of life, there is always a chance of coming across scams. Having done some detective work in this respect, I have intentionally taken calculated risks to detect scammers. I have found some that got my spam stamp of rejection.
Discipline, due diligence, and dedication will get you far in work from home efforts.