I can’t be the only one who is frustrated with the traditional workplace. The overeager bosses. The office politics. It’s for that reason that many workers are now turning to home based jobs to free themselves from the long commutes and fulfilling office based environments.

There are loads of resources around home based jobs online now, and it can be a drag wading through and researching all over them. But you’re in luck! I’ve done it for you. Well, I’ve certainly spent ages monitoring the latest trends in home based and remote working.

From monitoring and researching the online working environment I’ve broken the sector down into two key areas. This is what I feel is the most important distinction anyone needs to make if they’re setting out to work online.

Employment vs Self Employment

When setting out to look for home based work the first thing to do really is to decide between being employed, or self employed.

As I alluded to before, one of the main motivations for wanting to work online, certainly for myself, was the desire to break from from the office environment and from the micromanagement of company managers.

Whilst home based jobs give you more flexibility and remove your commute, they’re still not necessarily appropriate if you want to work independently.

For example, if your main motivation is to work without the constant pressure and guidance that comes from a corporate management, then there’s little to gain from working in a similar position.

Okay, you can get out of bed later, and potentially do your work in your pyjamas. But you’re still going to find yourself on the end of calls and emails from people making demands of you and criticising your performance.

If this sounds like you, then you’re certainly more suited to a self employed position.

On the other hand, if you’re quite comfortable in an office or corporate environment, but you’d simply like to be closer to home for family commitments then traditional, home based jobs might be the perfect solution.

It’s all about understanding our own motivations to work in this way, and then looking what positions are available.

Let’s explore these two avenues in more detail, and really dig down into the pros and cons of each scenario.

Home Based Jobs: Traditional Employment

If you’re employed in a traditional position, but based from home, here are some of the plusses and minuses that you’re likely to find:

Pros:

  • No commute: No sitting in traffic and therefore lower travel costs
  • Family: Lots more time at home.
  • Stability: You’ll probably still receive a monthly salary
  • Security: You’ll have employment rights like sick pay
  • Job Progression: The ability to move up the company ladder
  • Experience: Gaining valuable workplace skills that can go on your CV
  • Independence: Although not entirely independent, being employed but working from home frees you up from the claustrophobic office based environment.

Cons:

  • Lack of independence: Yes,this is contradictory. But you’ll still have deadlines and guidlines to follow.
  • Management: You will be managed and dictated to by senior colleagues, potentially with targets to meet
  • Lack of Creativity: Home based jobs with an employer don’t leave much room to express yourself.
  • Lack of support: Working alone means not having a colleague or boss to hand at all times.
  • Lack of Clarity: Likewise, communication is often by email, leaving you to decipher your tasks from written instructions.

I was recently offered a few different positions working on a contract for a well known online, flexible working agency and the above points are exactly what I ran into.

I found that the company offered fantastic work life balance options. They would allow me to pick and choose my own shifts. I could log in later in the afternoon and throw my alarm clock in the bin for good. I would be working alone so would be left to my own devices for long spells in the day.

However they also made it clear that I would be working to the same stringent expectations that were demoralising me in my current workplace. Constant ‘check ins’ with management, to make sure I was up to scratch. KPI ‘targets’ to make sure performance was where it should be.

Essentially, it would be out of the frying pan and into the fire in terms of escaping the 9 to 5. Ok, technically I would no longer be working between those hours, but I would certainly still be working in an environment that dictated to me how to work, rather than encouraged creativity. That didn’t appeal.

So the other option is to go work for yourself. Let’s have a look at Self Employment.

Home Based Jobs: Self Employment

Self employment is a whole different, scary but thrilling way of working. For many people it probably ends in failure, but for those determined to work on their own steam there’s never been a better time to start.

Let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of Self Employment.

Pros:

  • Total creative freedom: Create what you want. Sell what you want, when you want
  • Choose own working hours: No clocking in or out
  • Total workplace freedom: Nobody tells you what to do, you’re in charge.
  • No office politics: Those arguments or disagreements in the workplace are a thing of the past
  • Rewarding: The ability to take an idea from scratch and make a living.

Cons:

  • Lack of stability: Business can be slow, and incomes can fluctuate
  • Lack of employee benefits: Not being employed means a lack of sick pay or other benefits
  • Lack of colleagues: Having nobody to talk to or lean on can be daunting
  • Legal requirements: Being self employed means paying your own tax, and complying with legislation
  • Writers block: Whether writing or not, self employed workers with no set tasks might hit a brick wall of creativity.
  • Competition: Entering the market place alone means competing with a pool of workers. You need to keep your skills and your mind up to date.

As you can see there’s a huge difference between working from home in an employed position, or doing freelance or self employed work based from your home address.

I’d have a good look at both these options, and get a feel for what type of person you are before making your next step into looking for home based jobs.

For me, the motivation has always been to have complete artistic freedom. I’ve always enjoyed having work colleagues and making friends in the workplace, but found myself less and less motivated by being dictated to how I am supposed to be working. But that’s just me.

Whichever route you want to go down, there are loads of great resources out there and I’ll be here every step of the way reviewing and discussing them.

Ultimately it always comes down to hard work. Nothing ever happens for free. But whatever you choose to do, I wish you nothing but health and happiness in your chosen career.

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