You may love the concept of working from home and getting paid to do it and you probably have a small idea of why most employers aren’t fully embracing the concept. There are several pros but there are several cons too, and they can be quite expensive. Laws vary in each state so what I list below may or may not apply to you.
So, what are the pros for the employer?
- Save money on office space
- Save money on office furniture
- Improved employee morale
- Employees work longer hours (this is true, when you work at home, you actually tend to put in more hours)
- Decrease company’s green footprint (electrical consumption in office, etc.)
But, consider what the employers cons may be:
- Laws regarding employees and whatever equipment is used for a job: your desk, your computer, your mouse, your printer, you name it. The law protects the right of the employee, not the employer. So that gives the employer very little incentive to outfit your home office with everything that they would normally have to pay for if you were to work in their physical office.
- Work injury liability: If you develop carpal tunnel because your home office was not ergonomically set up, your employer is liable.
- Employee motivation and productivity: I’m sure this one is obvious, how many people would be fully productive for the 8 hours they are in the office, let alone the 8 hours they are at home?
- Tracking work progress and projects: Unless you already have a system in the office to track your productivity, the employer is likely to have a much more difficult time to track this when you’re at home.
So, what do you do to convince your current employer or another employer to take the liability risks and give you a work at home opportunity?
- Create a report to track your work performance, tasks completed, progress and hours. Give your employer a way to see how productive and disciplined you are. At the end of the day, I list everything I’ve worked on, what I’ve completed, what meetings I’ve attended and how much time I spent working that day. Make it a habit to do this everyday. At the end of the month, your report would be so long and comprehensive, your employer can’t deny that you have had a productive month.
- Address liability concerns with your employer. Take a picture of your home office and perhaps even write a brief report of the ergonomics in your home office. Do a little research and show your employer that you value your time and flexible work relationship more than a frivolous lawsuit.
- Agree to contract work. If you are looking for work at home jobs, take multiple jobs and allow employers to outsource work to you. This reduces their tax, benefits and liability burden. Put together your own independent contractor agreement so that they know you are working to protect both them and you. This works well for you, they’ll be more willing to pay you more than a normal salaried employee’s hourly rate.
- Package your service offerings. Find a way to put together what you do and for what price. Yes, you’ll be putting together a brochure of your services essentially. But, if you find a way to package it where an employer / client knows what they’re getting for their money, you’ll be surprised how much easier it is for them to say yes.