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Saturday, 2 January 2016

If You Work From Home (or Aspire to) You Must Read This

This article was originally published at the Observer.

 
Let's face it: long commutes, office politics, and the nine-to-five grind are quickly becoming obsolete. According to a recent report, fifty-three million Americans (34 percent of the U.S. workforce) work from home as freelancers and home-based business owners. Many Predict that number will increase to 50 percent of the workforce by 2020.

 At long last, Americans are returning to the native way of living. Before the industrial revolution, everyone could consider themselves an entrepreneur— throughout the entire evolutionary process — all the way back. Working as an undervalued factory worker was simply a blip in an otherwise entrepreneurial human history.
Now, the small business owner can start-up and generate a six to seven figure gross income in 1–4 years. The telecommuting and freelancing consultant can make six figures working wherever she wants and often less than 30 hours per week.
Despite the enormity of this shift, little research captures the lived experience of those experiencing it. Consequently, the purpose of this post is to quickly get you up to speed on the lifestyle, benefits, challenges, and decisions being made by Americans working from home. Money Tips  an online community and information resource, recently surveyed 592 small business owners and telecommuters — and managed to reach some sound conclusions about their lives and experiences. The free ebook containing the complete findings can be found here.
People Who Work From Home Are More Productive and Happier
Eighty-six percent of Americans working from home LOVE or like working from home. So much so that 46 percent would turn down an offer of free office space just one mile from home!Not only are they happy, they’re more productive. Despite doing household chores, watching TV, and caring for children, 67 percent report being far more productive working from home than being in an office.
Their Finances Are Looking Good
Although just over half (56 percent) of small business owners are satisfied with their current standard of living, the large majority (69 percent) are confident they will be able to grow their income enough to enjoy the lifestyle they want in the future. Their confidence is not in vain. Ninety-two percent live either within or below their means, and 89 percent report they are on track with at least some of their financial goals.
Additionally, 50 percent report having multiple streams of income. This is not surprising; the economy of the future seems headed toward a workforce of individuals working as specialists for multiple “employers” — rather than narrowly spending their hours on behalf of one person or company. .
That said, the picture isn’t entirely rosy. Despite good financial habits and even a bright confidence in the future, nearly 80 percent of freelancers, business owners, and telecommuters lose sleep due to financial concerns.
Most Stay-at-Homers Are Younger Than 40
Almost 40 percent are millennials, and nearly 70 percent of Americans working from home are under 40 years old.I suspect these numbers will continue to increase as the rising generation is raised in a culture where working from home is the norm.
There Is No Clear Gender Gap in Those Who Choose to Work From Home
Fifty-one percent of Americans working from home are women. Many of these women are stay-at-home moms who have created successful businesses in the margins of their responsibilities.
Although there is no clear gender gap now, this may change over time. Despite being paid less than their male counterparts, recent trends highlight that women have more career ambition than men. Indeed, women earn more bachelor’s and graduate degrees than men do. Women are also considered harder working, less prone to distraction, and better employees and managers.
Most Folks Who Work From Home Have a College Education
Although popularized by famous entrepreneurs that dropping out of high school and college is the key to success, statistics portray a different story. The unemployment rate for Americans with bachelor’s degrees or higher is just 3.2 percent, compared to a national average of 6.1 percent. Among the small business owners who took the Moneytip’s survey:
  • 2 percent have a Ph.D.
  • 10 percent have an MBA or Master’s degree
  • 43 percent have a bachelor’s degree
  • 21 percent have an associate’s degree
  • 21 percent have a high school degree or GED
These numbers are likely to shift over time however. With college rates continuing to rise, less people are going to college and opting for either trade schools or jumping right into work. Furthermore, increasingly more educational options exist via the internet that are either free or far cheaper than college.
Most Who Work From Home Work Less Than 40 Hours Per Week
Nearly 50 percent of Americans working from home work 25 hours per week or less.Only 16 percent work more than 40 hours per week.
According to Parkinson’s Law, work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. When you set short time-lines, you work more efficiently. Furthermore, entrepreneurs are far more likely than the average employee to use automation or outsourcing tools.
Indeed, one of the primary motivations for the mobile lifestyle is freedom. Rather than focusing on hard work and effort which is foundation to the industrial model, the goal is results — and getting those results as efficiently as possible.
Most Are Fairly New At Working From Home
According to the survey, 80 percent of Americans working from home have been doing so for over one year. However, nearly half of all respondents have been working from home for less than two years.
Having large numbers of people working from home is a new phenomenon. We are literally watching the transition occur over a short window of time. From 2010 to 2020, we will have watched over a third of the United States population transition to working at home.
The 10 Biggest Advantages to Working From Home Are…
Most people prefer working from home. There are so many benefits— from higher productivity — to being able to exercise and eat whenever you want , to being able to work in your underwear. However, some things are more important than others. The following are the most appreciated benefits, from greatest to least.
  • No commute to work
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Comfortable work environment
  • Ability to spend more time with family
  • More opportunities to save money (e.g., gas, eating out)
  • No dress code
  • Not having a boss breathing down your neck
  • A superior work/life balance
  • Fewer distractions or interruptions
  • Higher productivity
The future is looking more and more exciting for Americans who are making the transition to working from home. One of the primary benefits is the removal of non-essentials. So much of work-life in America has been non-productive, miss-micromanaged distraction.
Instead, most Americans will be able to do work they love, and on their own terms.

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