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Is Working From Home a Good Idea?

Aug 4, 2008
It's easy to see why many people find working from home so appealing. Calculating that you spend more time in your office than anywhere else on earth can be a disheartening thought. For a lot of people, particularly those that care for children or relatives, the standard working week is just too demanding. People are looking for a better work-life balance and homeworking can allow people motivated enough to manage their own time effectively the flexibility they are looking for.

There's also the added expense of going to work, sharply rising train fares and extortionate sandwiches, not to mention the time wasted travelling to and from work. If you can manage and motivate yourself effectively, working from home could actually be a lot more productive than going to work.

Homeworking was originally almost solely associated with teleworking, but now with most people having broadband internet at home, more people than ever can have the same flexibility. Many people use messenger and emails at work to communicate with people across a desk from them, or in the next room, so why not just do it from home?

There are many different types of roles which can be performed from home. More than the teleworking you might expect. From web designers, solicitors and radio presenters to audio typists, architects and journalists, as long as you have the right equipment at home, then maybe you should consider ditching the commute and working from home.

Under the 2002 Employment Act parents of children under 6 and disabled children under 18 have the right to apply to work flexibly, and their employers have a duty to consider requests seriously. The government hopes this will "provide parents with more choice to balance work and family life, whilst being compatible with, and beneficial to, business efficiency".

But you should think carefully before jumping into working from home. Whilst it will suit many down to the ground, certain people and jobs are probably better performed at the workplace. Consider how you communicate with your colleagues and how this would change if you worked from home. Leaning over and asking someone a question is a lot different to calling someone up for an answer.

Also consider whether your home is really appropriate to work from. It is best to have a dedicated work area to avoid disturbance from your mum/boyfriend/child/housemate, and also to help you divide your time between work and home time. If your bedroom is covered in work it may be hard to relax when your day's work is done. Similarly it might be difficult just to get started on your work if you are surrounded by domestic duties.

So if you have an understanding family, a home with a study and self-discipline, why not consider working from home? It could be more relaxing, productive and enjoyable than enduring nine-to-five in the office.
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