The benefits of working from home

jobMore and more companies are beginning to give their employees a chance to work from home. As technology advances, people are better able to work from home while still being connected to the business they work for. Information can be shared easier through the cloud and online storage, as well as the ability to communicate through emails and video conferences.

Working from home has benefits not just for the employees, but for the businesses as well. An employee working from home used to be daunting, something a business could lose money and productivity over, but nowadays that’s not true. Working from home can actually increase employee productivity and create a better working environment for all involved.

Flexibility and Why Workers Need It

There are a few reasons why working from home is an option that more workers want to be able to have. To start with, many want to have a better balance between work and their life at home, including the time they spend with their family. It’s optimal for workers who have small children at home, or even a spouse who may need help in the day because of health reasons.

Workers also want this option to cut down on commuting and the cost of gas to get to work. It saves time for the workers and reduces stress. They don’t have to worry about traffic and if there is an accident or a jam somewhere on the road.

Working from home is also a good option for employees who might need a different environment because of health issues. Why get rid of an employee just because they need to be at home to better take care of themselves when they can work from home and get just as much done?

Increased Productivity

From a company’s perspective, employees working from home can actually increase their productivity. There are a few reasons as to why that is, starting with the fact that there can be less distractions in an office at home. Cubicles at businesses are noisy and busy, with coworkers walking around and chitchatting, or people upset about maintenance issues or any number of workplace annoyances. Working from home cuts out a lot of that chatter, allowing an employee to focus on what they need to get done.

Polls taken to show where employees go to get their most important work done shows that very few employees would actually choose to do their biggest work in the office during the normal work time hours. An overwhelming number, well over fifty percent, said they would choose to take that work home, while another eighteen percent would choose the office after work hours.

Working from home can cut down some of the stress of work place politics, grievances, and distractions, and this helps employees get more done at a better quality.

Health Benefits

One big health benefit of working at home is the reduction of stress and what it does to an employee’s mental health. They feel more comfortable at home and they don’t have to worry about the stress of a commute. It’s also been found that the closeness in proximity to the other employees can increase a worker’s stress and anxiety, making them less productive in the long run. They are better able to relax and take care of themselves when stressful situations arise than they could in an office environment.

Workers eat better at home than they do going into the office, giving them better health all around. They also have the ability to take small breaks for exercise, reducing stress and keeping their bodies healthy and able to fight off illnesses.

Employers will see a reduction of sick days taken off from employees who work at home. By not being in an office environment, employees can’t spread around germs and illnesses to each other. Not only that, but some things that would keep an employee home from an office wouldn’t necessarily keep them from working at home. They don’t have to worry about the travel and how that might make them sicker, or take way their worries of getting their coworkers sick.

How Technology Makes This Possible

We’re living in a decade where, thanks to technology, it’s much easier to stay connected and have meetings even if some or many employees aren’t in the office. There are many services out there that can let employees attend meetings from the comfort of their home office. Video conferencing is on the rise and carries benefits for employees who want to work from home, as well as employers.

Things like the video communications Bluejeans Networking can provide lets employers hold meetings with employees in the office, at home, or in other parts of the country or world. It opens up the possibilities of what a company can do from afar.

With services like this, there’s no need to stick with a strict office environment for all employees.

Do I need business insurance?

Insurance. It’s definitely not the most exciting part of starting a business but you really do need it. There are a range of different types of insurance that you might need, even as a one-person home-based business and I’m going to cover the basics here:

Liability Insurance

If you injure someone or damage their property and you are found to be at fault, you may need to pay damages. Liability insurance protects your business against these costs. Liability insurance isn’t just for big companies who have to cover themselves against employees falling off ladders. If you’re a cleaner you could stain a client’s carpet, for example. Even an IT consultant could find a client tripping over their laptop case!

General liability insurance can cover a range of different things like employees, customers and damage to property and tools.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional indemnity insurance covers you if you need to pay to correct a mistake or cover any legal costs because of negligence e.g. giving incorrect advice or making a mistake in your work. You’ll need this if you offer advice or handle clients’ data or intellectual property.

Home insurance

The home insurance you already have may cover your business at no extra cost, especially if your business is basically just a laptop. But it’s important that you give your insurance company a call to tell them that you’re running a business from home. Otherwise they may refuse to pay if you make a claim.

Check the terms and conditions of your mortgage too, as your mortgage provider may also need to know about your home-based business.

Motor insurance

If you’re using your car for your business, don’t forget to tell your motor insurance company. As for house insurance, not informing the insurer may make the policy invalid if you need to make a claim.

Adding business cover to your policy doesn’t usually cost much and it may even be free.

Other types of insurance

Depending on your business, you may need more specialist insurance too. For example, if you have expensive stock in transit, you’ll probably want to insure that. And business interruption insurance can cover you if your business has to stop trading due to e.g. broken equipment or fire damage. Or perhaps even unoccupied insurance.

For more information on the type of insurance that your business needs, it’s best to talk to an insurance broker.

 


If I was starting out as a work at home mum now, here’s what I’d do…

It’s now four years since the day I took my three-month-old daughter to visit a nursery and discovered I couldn’t leave her and go back to work full-time. It wasn’t the nursery, I just couldn’t stand to be parted from my baby. (If you feel that way right now, you might like to read my story here?)

Next week she starts school! That’s quite a milestone for both of us.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in those years and I was just thinking what I’d say to myself if I could go back to where I was back in 2008. So I decided to share it because if you’re a work at home mum who is just starting out, you might find it helpful.

I’ve got a list of practical tips coming up (that’s me, always practical!) but my decision to start a business from home was anything but practical. It was very emotional at the time. So the first thing I would tell myself is that it’s OK, you’re not going crazy. It’ll all be fine. It’s going to be hard work and there is a lot to learn, but you won’t regret taking time out with your little girl during those precious few years before she starts school. And I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but those years really do go fast.

you won’t regret taking time to out with your little girl during those precious years

Despite that, there will be times when the frustration of not being able to work when you want to will drive you bonkers. You’ll have a task you desperately want to finish but it’ll have to wait until toddler goes to bed (yes, when you’ll be shattered and struggling to keep your eyes open). That doesn’t make you a bad mum, so don’t beat yourself up. In fact resist the urge to be too hard on yourself whenever you possibly can.

So (clicking back into practical mode again!) here’s what you need to do next: [Read more…]

Working from home with toddlers around: how on earth do you do it?

Question:

I’m at the research stage of setting up a small business while I look after my two toddlers. I  work most evenings once they have gone to bed but I’m also trying to fit bits in in the day. I feel I’m not giving my children the time I should as I’m distracted by work and I’m not giving work sufficient attention as I’m paying attention to my children – what can I do?

I really feel for you as I’ve been there and to some extent I still am! It’s hard, no doubt about it. Here are some tips to help: [Read more…]

Buy ‘Start a Family Friendly Business’ during August and get these bonuses…

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