There are essentially three options for people who want to work from home. One is to work from home as an employee, one is to start your own business and the other is to set yourself up as a freelance worker. They are likely to be very different experiences so here is a quick guide to each.
Working From Home As An Employee
Although the number of companies recruiting home workers as permanent employees is still relatively small, there are still some opportunities out there. It may also be possible for employees to transition to home working after working in an office, although this often has implications with regards to career progression.
In many ways working from home as an employee is largely the same as doing the equivalent job in an office, with the exception that it becomes even more important to make the effort to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on in the office.
Even if you have no intention of going back to working in the office, it can often pay dividends to go and attend social functions, even if it’s just meeting colleagues for an informal drink. If you’re part of a team, being able to put faces to names can go a long way towards good office relations.
After all, one of the advantages of being in an office environment is having a support network, so it makes sense to keep it fully operational.
Starting Your Own Business
This offers both maximum control and maximum responsibility. As well as having to manage the sort of admin required of freelancers, i.e. tax and NI, you may also have to get involved in VAT registration and possibly managing other staff, if only on a temporary basis.
For those who are still interested, there are essentially two options. One is to link up with a franchise and the other is to start from scratch. Franchises vary widely in the support they give their distributors and how successful they are can depend greatly on your local area and your connections, but some people do very well out of them. Other people start from scratch either through choice or because there is no franchise relevant to their interests.
Working From Home As A Freelancer
Being a freelancer working for someone else is about midway between being a permanent employee and running your own business.
On the one hand, you will have to take responsibility for organizing your own tax and national insurance payments and it is unlikely you will receive any employment benefits such as paid holiday.
On the other hand, you will be able to work from your own home and will have a much greater degree of choice over what you do, when you do it and who you do it with.
The flexibility of the freelance market cuts both ways and, just as in the corporate world, the more skills and experience you have, the more attractive you will be as an employment prospect and the better your choice of jobs will be. Typical freelancing jobs for home workers include customer service, book-keeping and transcription, such as captioning for TV companies.
Guest Bio: The author currently works from home partly as an employee and partly as a freelancer. She’s now thinking of setting up her own business. The appeal of being her own boss and working her own way was a large part of the reason why she was never going to become a senior manager in a corporation, which was why she left to go solo.