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Do you work from home? If you do, you’re part of a growing population of Americans who either telecommute or are part of the gig economy.
What’s the difference?
Those who telecommute work remotely for a traditional employer. The ability to telecommute is increasingly becoming a trait workers seek in a new employer with half of employees finding this important, according to Orange Future Enterprise Coalition.
Studies have shown that telecommuters are happier and healthier than their office counterparts and stay with their employers longer.
Those in the gig economy include freelancers, independent contractors, temp employees and entrepreneurs. In 2014, more than 53 million Americans freelanced, according to the Freelancers Union; that’s 34 percent of the workforce.
Work from Home Stereotypes
Unless you’re in a profession, you can never truly know what it is like. When it comes to working from home, it seems there is never an end to the misperceptions.
I can provide you with several examples from my life: My parents call during working hours and express marvel that I’m “still” working. My adult step-children come visit their father during business hours and sit 12 feet away from where I’m working, talking loudly, not caring they are distracting me. Most of my in-laws think I’m nothing more than a glorified housewife and seem surprised to hear I work all day.
I’ve also heard other freelance writer’s stories: Relatives who say it must be nice to do nothing all day. Neighbors who wonder if the person working from home can babysit or run errands. People who think the self employed don’t have real jobs or do actual work.
5 Challenges and Solutions
There are many challenges working from home, but these challenges can be overcome. Here are some of the most common:
- The Naysayers: How do you deal with people who don’t understand what you do or, worse, don’t respect it? Set boundaries. Learn to say “no” when people ask you for favors while you’re working. Stress that your home is both your home and your workplace.
- Distractions: Distractions can come from your friends and family, from your neighbor’s lawn mower or the road crew repaving your street. It also can come from your own mind. When you’re alone, it’s easy to let your mind wander. You might find yourself playing computer games, getting involved in housework or tempted to watch that movie you’ve been dying to see. When you work from home, though, there is no one there to motivate you but you. To keep yourself motivated, establish a daily to-do list and stick to it.
- Scheduling and time management: When you work from home, the majority of the time you can set your own hours. For some people, this might make it hard to focus. To stay on track, prioritize work to meet deadlines. Don’t forget to allow time for administrative tasks such as email, phone calls, social media and filing.
- Lack of a social life: Working from home generally means working solo, giving little opportunity to socialize with others, and it can be lonely. If you’re also a parent, it might mean no adult interaction. Resolve this by networking with other self employed and joining entrepreneur organizations. Make time to meet friends and get out of the house.
- Separating work from home: People who work outside the home have their commute as a physical and mental separation between work and home. When your home and workplace are the same, establishing that separation becomes a lot tougher. This is when it becomes important to set business hours and stick by them.
What is/would be the most challenging aspect of working from home for you?
Updated: 26 June 2018