The trend to work from home is now stronger than ever thanks to a combination of advancing digital technology, development of the internet, and changes in the way companies do their business, such as taking advantage of freelancing. It’s not surprising that the desire to work from the comforts of home is a powerful one, but does the future of work mean more people staying in their residence?

Before answering the question for yourself whether working from the comfort of your own home is desirable, it pays to know why it became possible and whether it is the right work for you.

Why Working from Home Became Possible?

It was not that long ago when working from home was only for those who were freelancing or running their own, unique home-based business. Today, millions of people work for companies in many different industries from home and the number is growing. So, just why did this happen?

  • Internet
  • Advanced Computers
  • Advanced Software Systems
  • Move from Manufacturing to Informational Work

As the United States moved from a manufacturing nation which required employees to be on-site to more service-oriented and informational-based, the need for employees to be on-site dropped considerably. As the internet grew, speeds became faster, computers more advanced, and software systems designed to run accounting programs and the like became more commonplace.

It didn’t take long for many business owners and employees to realize that the work required of them could be done from the comforts of their home thanks to these advances. The basics such as data processing, accounting, and the like could be done off-site along with customer service applications, such as call centers.

The internet also changed how companies hired employees and did business with clients. Thanks to the internet, freelancing in many different fields exploded, becoming a prime source for employers looking for those who could work by contract to fulfill temporary needs. Freelancing also benefited businesses because they could hire experienced help that did not need training to fulfill certain aspects of their efforts, such as writing for example to keep up their websites.

Another change occurred when more people began online businesses which meant they could run their companies all from the comforts of home. Today, millions of people around the world make a part or full-time income thanks to their online businesses. And it’s not surprising that many who have started their own online businesses have also hired people who also work from home as well.

Of course, the world is still in transition when it comes to working from home as many businesses do not see the benefits or feel that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. After all, a business owner cannot keep their eye on employees who are sitting in their home and not at the office. However, the bottom line is the work being done and the results that it accomplishes which is why more younger business owners tend to be more tolerant of employees at home compared to older ones when such a thing was not possible at least for most employees.

All this means that there are clear benefits for those who want to spend more time at home. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing this effort?

Advantages & Disadvantages of Working from Home

It may seem like working from home is all benefits and no issues if only because you never have to leave your comfort zone. Indeed, there are several advantages to be had when working from your home.

Addressing Other Needs: For many, the choice of working from home lets them address certain needs in a more economical and direct fashion. Taking care of children or elderly parents or grandparents is far easier when you can be at home to attend to their needs. This is not only more practical, but economical as well since it means a more independent life for seniors while saving considerable amounts of money. The needs that can be addressed while staying at home are the driving force behind why so many choose this career path.

No Commuting: As most employees what they don’t like about their job and commuting will often come up. For those who live in the suburbs and drive into the city, average commuting times may run well over an hour per trip. All that wasted time in traffic is bad enough, but it is the gas bill which may be the most annoying aspect. While public transportation solves some issues, it often takes far longer to commute using the bus or train than by vehicle.

Peace of Mind: The home is your comfort zone which means that working from there is less stressful which improves the enjoyment of your time at work. When you set up your home office the right way, stick to a schedule, and get things accomplished on time, you feel better and get more enjoyment while still being employed full-time.

So, it’s little wonder that the lack of community is one of the biggest benefits to work from home. An average family may save a hundred dollars and perhaps considerably more just in the reduction of paying for gas.

Of course, even with all the benefits of working from home, there are some disadvantages that need to be considered.

Motivation: For many who work from home, they understand that arguably the biggest challenge is the lack of motivation to get the job done. This is because being at home means more distractions that take you away from your work, such as taking care of the kids, your elderly relatives, or lesser things such as shopping on the internet or watching TV.

All these little distractions can add up quickly over the course of a day which may put you well behind schedule. It takes a fair amount of discipline and focus to work while surrounded by distractions which some people may not be able to achieve.

Setting Up a Home Office: To help with the motivation, many employees will set up a home office that includes a computer, work station, and other needed items so they can focus on their work. This can be expensive and take up valuable space in your home. While some companies may offer compensation, for the most part you will probably be on your own in setting up a home office to take care of your working needs.

While the equipment needed may be within your budget, it is finding the space which is isolated from the rest of the home that may be more problematic. Many people will use a spare room, but if that is not available, then the bedroom is a popular choice because it can be isolated thanks to a locking door. The den or living room is usually not suitable because of the potential distractions.

Future of Work from Home

All indications are that the future of working from home will only grow for the foreseeable future. Although the US is now experiencing a rise in manufacturing, much of the economy will still be heading towards decentralized businesses who do not need employees to be on-site to perform their duties.

Advances in technology will contribute to more people working from home as automation, more sophisticated computer and software programs, and as new business ventures explore territory that is not possible with traditional companies, the expansion of freelancing and more people working from home is virtually a given.

Apart from unforeseen events, the question will be just how far the work from home ethic will take hold. It is true that some companies such as Yahoo for example, cut back on the work from home emphasis to put more employees on-site. That seems to be the exception and not the rule. This is because the advantages of working from home provides benefits to both employers and employees.

However, the advancing technology cuts both ways as it provides for more opportunities to work from home while also cutting out jobs through automation or combining different tasks into fewer jobs. This means that the next generation may be more inclined to find employment that allows them to stay at home, but it may have considerable competition with fewer areas of potential jobs available.

This may be offset by the rise of smaller, online companies that allow people to not only work for another company but start one of their own to make money. The drive toward more small business development is good for the nation, but also good for people as being a business owner provides many advantages.

While no one can say exactly what the future of work will hold, what is true is that continued advances in technology, new fields of employment that open up because of the spread of the internet, and the growing need to take care of elderly members of the family will mean more people will be looking for employment that allows them to spend time near their loved ones and not at work.