Telecommuting or work-at-home jobs are becoming more popular because of advancements in technology. Why come to an office if you can email your assignments, or join meetings by Skype, or conference call?
Some employers are in favor of hiring workers in this roll because they often offer lower salaries and no benefits. Their claim is that the at-home-worker is saving money by not paying for transportation, eating lunch out, dry cleaning clothes often, buying work clothes and shoes or attending work parties.
Employees who accept these at-home positions enjoy being at home instead of the office, believe all of the cost saving information they’re told and would rather stay in their PJs and rollers than wear heels and makeup and deal with rush-hour traffic.
But does it cost you more than money to be a telecommuter? Before agreeing to clear out your corner office and work from your bedroom, consider these factors:
No Medical Benefits – If you get hired as a telecommuter or change to this status, some companies won’t offer medical benefits. If you have to pay for your own benefits and those of your dependents, figure out how much of your reduced salary this will cost you.
Utility Bill Increase – Going from being out of the home for at least eight hours a day to being home all day will increase your utility bills. Using your computer, printer, fax, modem, air conditioner and desk lamp more often will be reflected on your electric bill. Also, people without unlimited calling phone plans can be charged per minute or per call for local calls above their plan’s limits, with even higher rates for toll and long distance calls.
Extra Expenses – If your job isn’t supplying paper and ink when you need to print out work, guess who’s paying that? Likewise, extra usage of your equipment can mean increased maintenance costs to keep everything working.
Taxes – If you’re working in a position that considers you self employed you’ll have to deduct your own taxes. So, that’s another chunk out of your salary.
Socialization – If it’s important to you to interact with others face-to-face, you’ll miss out on the impromptu water cooler chats. Interoffice gossip loses some of its flavor when you can’t see the ill-fitting outfits of the office misfit or steal peaks at the office hunk.
Assumptions – Being home all day may make you appear unemployed because your neighbors don’t see you coming and going like they do. Occasionally, you should dust off your car, park in different places and don’t let leaves and debris gather at your tires. Likewise, others seeing that you’re home all day can assume you have extra time to run errands for them or time to waste hanging out with them.
Time Management – Be careful you don’t get distracted from work because you’re home. Try not to sleep late, watch TV, surf the net for pleasure, take long naps, and contact friends often with social networking.
What other ways can working at home cost you?