Working for The Man, From Home

A front page article in today’s Australian Financial Review, which is the closest thing the country has to an official journal of record of the business and financial sectors, is headed Home work brings new challenges,

by Fiona Carruthers (the article does not have a permalink and will no

doubt disappear into the archives soon, but it is today one of the free

articles so  you can read it for however long they decide to leave it

accessible publicly).

It’s not about home based business – that

will be the day, when “the Fin” runs a front page article on home based

business – but about “the trend for staff to work from home”.

Several

examples are provided, such as KPMG’s senior research and development

tax concession manager who works full-time from his home and farm near

Canberra, not in the Sydney KPMG office. Many home based business

owners would relate to the dilemmas he faces.

“It’s not easy

when I’ve got a few cows to calve, I’ve told my wife I’ll pick the kids

up from school and I’m on a deadline on a project for a client,” he

says.

Maybe not the calf-delivering bit.

According

to experts quoted in the article, advances in technology are a big

factor in companies loosening their formerly more rigid attitudes about

people working from home. Especially access to broadband.

The article caught my attention because, while this blog is called Thinking Home Business, there are some

common issues for people working from home, whether for their own

business or as employees in someone else’s business.

And I’ve been noticing lately that a high proportion of visits to this blog seem to come via the Work From Home category, or more specifically via one of the posts in that category. Which suggests to me that there is a lot of interest in the concept of working from home.

Perhaps the interest is more in terms of working from home than in having a business from home. And I don’t know of any research on that subject, here or elsewhere.

Many of the personal and organisational disciplines required are the same and there are a lot of technology issues which are shared.

There are also differences, including both the greater freedom and usually some specific additional pressures you have from owning your own business..

But there are enough common issues that, for anyone still employed by others and contemplating setting up a home based business at some time in the future, it could be a very smart move to get a taste of how that might work, by negotiating with the current employer to be able to work from home, for at least part of the week.  That way they could get some idea whether working from home really suited them.

It would probably not be a good idea to inform the average employer of the longer term game plan, lest the employee be seen as unloyal or uncommitted (let’s not get into how loyal or committed corporations are these days). And in any case, if the experiment doesn’t work out, it would be less stressful to just quietly slip back into the previous Monday to Friday at the office arrangement.

As I’ve suggested, working from home for someone else is not the same as having your own business from home, for example in terms of being directly responsible for all the business processes and having to generate regular income once the paycheck from your former employer is no more.

But it could help as a test.

Like, just how good are you at not raiding the fridge at frequent intervals when it’s only a few steps away?

And will you get anxious and inefficient in the absence of a regular paycheck? Will you miss the company of your fellow-workers, the intra-office gossip, drinks after work?

I like the life. Not everyone does.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m someone who enjoys my own company, the solitude and being able to get on with the job without having to put up with office politics, gossip, and non-productive time whilst waiting for the next thing from the ‘boss’. Deciding to work at/from home many years ago was the best decision I ever made and the benefits (for me) far outweighed any negatives. Thanks for bringing this article to our attention Des.