Jenny Holt 2m 508 #workfromhome
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Working From Home
Working From Home in the Gig Economy
There’s no doubt that the country is shifting towards an on-demand workforce. Just a generation or two ago, it was common for workers to get a job right out of school, work for the same company for 40 years, and retire with a gold watch and a nice pension. This scenario has since gone the way of black and white television.
The gig economy can be difficult to identify. It includes the self-employed, but also those who just work for hire, but don’t have a company to call their own. The best way to identify on-demand workers is the way their earnings are reported to the IRS. An employee gets a W-2 form that reports their earnings for the previous year. An on-demand worker gets a 1099 form.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways of working, for the worker and the company that benefits from the fruits of their labors. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad.
Benefits to the on-demand worker include flexibility because they can work as much or as little as they want. There’s no commuting time, so they have more time to focus on work. And having multiple sources of income insulates them against the risk of depending on one company for their livelihood. If one company goes out of business or offshores work, there are other companies to fall back on.
The disadvantages for workers include instability, since a company can disengage an on-demand worker more easily than an employee. Many companies that use on-demand workers do so because their business is seasonal, so many workers can expect that work will slow down after the busy season ends. Working at home also requires more discipline and focus than working in an office. The temptation to do a little housecleaning in the middle of the day can be great, especially if you have a particularly difficult project looming.
The Company Perspective
Companies benefit from hiring on-demand workers because they have little to no overheads. They don’t need to provide a desk or computer, and they only pay for the work they get. There’s no paid vacation, no 401k company match, and no sick time. Start-ups, in particular, like to tap into the gig economy because they avoid the upfront costs of a new employee. They can assign work as they get it, with no commitment to keeping a worker busy for 40 hours a week.
But what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. A company that uses on-demand workers may have trouble finding enough workers to meet their needs. And the ones they do find can leave for greener pastures with no notice.
Will the gig economy and at-home work replace the traditional 9-to-5? Probably not anytime soon, but don’t be surprised to see at-home work become more popular in more industries in the years to come.