The idea of working from home remains alive and well with small business owners.
Last week, news that Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, was discontinuing a policy of allowing company employees to work from home electrified the Web. A similar policy decision from Best Buy has also caused ripples.
In the U.S., an estimated 13 million, or one in 10 employees, work from home. Small business owners and entrepreneurs work from home as a way of reducing overhead and increasing flexibility. They often have their employees working from home for the same reasons.
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Why Working From Home Is Still A Good Idea
Don’t let anyone tell you working from home is a bad career move or that it will stop you from achieving your full potential. A list of great achievers who work from home includes no less than entrepreneur Richard Branson, star Amazon engineer James Hamilton, personal training and weight loss CEO Jeff Hyman, and Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist. Business Insider
Don’t believe anyone who tells you that working from home will make you less accessible to clients, suppliers or business partners. Or that employees who work for your business remotely will somehow be harder to manage. One of the upsides (or downsides) often discussed about working from home is that you’re always accessible. Chicago Tribune
According to a Stanford University study, an estimated 600,000 in the U.S. had “mega-commutes in 2010, traveling nearly 90 minutes or 50 miles for work.” Imagine the time lost on your startup or small business due to travel that’s not absolutely necessary. For any business that can be operated virtually or from a mobile location, cutting out the commute means obvious increases in productivity. The Wall Street Journal
Yes, working in an office can offer synergy and chemistry, but it also offers distraction. “For me, it was really challenging working in an office, because you have people walking, stopping by, knocking on your door and bringing you birthday cake,” says self-employed marketer Kelly Ann Collins, who doesn’t miss it at all. CNN Living
The key when working from home or managing a staff who does is to develop an effective policy. In this way, work from home arrangements can be superior to working in an office. They force you to think through the way you manage your own work habits and those of your staff. Randy Conley, Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies, makes these suggestions about what your policy should look like. Blanchard LeaderChat
Reaping the Benefits of Working From Home
An infographic from remote desktop app provider Splashtop shows the many benefits of allowing employees to work from home. For example, those working from home are 10 to 20 percent more productive. Also, 76 percent of telecommuters are willing to put in extra hours and 36 percent of employees would choose telecommuting over a pay raise. With benefits like this, what business owner in his or her right mind could refuse? DashBurst
The success of a great work from home program lies in how it is implemented. Here Sandra Wiley, COO of Boomer Consulting, leads us through the steps needed to create the perfect work from home program for your business. Steps include talking with your employees, making work from home an option instead of a mandate and utilizing the right technology to make your work from home program effective. CPA Practice Advisor
Looking at the work from home option, either as a solopreneur or a small business owner with staff, forces you to consider the most efficient way to operate your company. Some jobs cannot be done from home over an Internet connection. But for those that can, Lisa Belkin, Senior Columnist on Life/Work/Family, says entrepreneurs and employees must decide how the office of the future will be run. The Huffington Post
Prerna Gupta, Chief Product Officer at Smule Inc., wants to reinvent the office as a place to communicate ideas and strengthen personal and professional bonds. However, Gupta insists that the real creative insights on which companies base their major innovative leaps come from quiet times spent alone. That alone time is created by having employees working from home at least some of the time, and from giving them the trust and tools to do so. The New York Times
In the end, the main reason small business owners and solopreneurs should consider the work from home approach is that with the technology available, it is often the most practical choice. Executive coach, author, and entrepreneur, Jennie Wong, says there’s no place like home for your small business today. Just keep some important tips in mind that will allow you to manage your home business and office without loosing your mind. McClatchey
Working from Home Photo via Shutterstock