Many people tell me “You’re so lucky to work from home.” Yes, I am lucky, but it is not all rainbows and unicorns, and if you are considering working from home, I recommend you really think about it before making that decision.
In my case, I can work primarily from my home, both in my freelance research as well as my scanning job. However, there are many times that I go out of the house to scan documents, or to meet with a client. That means packing up everything and making sure I don’t forget something.
I do worry about forgetting something so I check and double check to make sure I have all cords, cables, and anything else that I may need to help complete my project. The above image is from the first day that I went to work on a project at the library. More information about that project can be found here. I took more then I needed, but did I know that? Of course I didn’t, because I would rather be over-prepared and not need something, as opposed to showing up under-prepared, and looking incapable to the client.
Outside of work related issues with working from home, you also have the personal issues to take into consideration. Picking up the middle schooler when she isn’t feeling well? Check. Picking up my brother’s kids or watching them in a pinch when both my brother and his wife are working? Check. Waking up early to go meet a plumber for my brother? Check. People will often expect that “You don’t work” simply because your schedule such that you are home all day.
The flexibility is nice, but sometimes that also means when something happens, you need to drop your work and do it. If you’re someone who likes to have a set schedule, but also the flexibility of working from home one solution that some people implement is working from home while maintaining some form of space away from their house. Also, be sure to have a separate part of the house as a home office. You shut yourself in the office and your family knows this means you are working. This also differentiates your work space from the space that you are relaxing at home in. Do either of these things always work? No, especially when you have household responsibilities such as vacuuming or dogs to be let in and out.
For me it’s great, I wake up when I want to, depending on my schedule for the day, and I can sit on my couch with my cat while I type. This obviously doesn’t always work, but often it does. Other times it can be aggravating because I have deadlines, but other responsibilities require my attention.
The biggest issue I have is the work to home balance. When you work from home there is always some form of work you could be doing. I really set schedules and make sure that I have a good balance. This means that sometimes things don’t get done immediately, but it means more time with my family doing family things.
Fiscally you have to consider working from home versus working outside of the home. Some jobs transfer great from outside the home to inside, others do not. If choosing from going to an employer to freelance or working as an independent contractor there are many things to consider. Insurance premiums, tax payments, and social security are all things that should be considered before taking the plunge. Don’t forget, independent contractors don’t get taxes taken out of their checks so remember to make quarterly payments to the IRS or you risk owing money when you file your taxes. Additionally, insurance premiums can cost more as an independent contractor than it would through an employer.
Before taking the plunge and quitting your out of the home job for something at home, make sure that it is something you can do. Also, if you do decide to work from the home, set schedules and limits. Set money aside for taxes or insurance premiums, and make sure that you are protected.
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Until next time, Happy working!