When you had your child or children, you may have made a plan to work from home, but perhaps didn’t consider the implications of doing so or how to go about it. Understanding the different options and issues involved in working from home will help you make the best decision for you, your children and your family.
Can You Do It?
First of all, you need to decide if you will be happy working from home. There are no people to talk to during breaks, and it requires a significant amount of self-motivation. Also consider whether you have the space in your home to do the job you choose. Some jobs require nothing more than a computer, while others require office equipment.
If you decide that you do, indeed, want to work from home, the next choice to consider is whether you want to work part-time, full-time or perhaps start your own business. This decision will impact your income, how your children are cared for and the hours you work.
Child Care Issues
Consider whether you want your children to be at home with you every day, or if you would be okay with them being cared for by someone else. You can work some part-time jobs while your children are in the room, such as freelance writing, but other jobs, like online tutoring, require you to have absolute quiet.
Working from home gives you the opportunity to decide whether you want to enter a new career field or if you want to stay in the same position you held before you had children. Many employers hire at-home workers for a variety of jobs. Other jobs are freelance, done on an ad-hoc or contract basis.
Making Your Schedule
Next decide what hours you want to work. This will impact the type of position you can get. Some jobs require you to work specific hours, while others simply give you a deadline to meet, not caring when you actually work. If you have your own business, you may work at different times of the day or night.
Another factor to consider is the age of your children. Depending on the particular job you want to do, it may be more realistic to wait until your children go to school or are ready for child care outside the home. This is particularly true if you need to retrain to get a new position. You might also need to retrain now so that you are ready to work when the children are ready for preschool or school.
The income level that you want to earn is another factor in your working from home. If you need to make a certain monthly income, you may need to choose a regular job or a number of part-time jobs to make your income goals. Ask yourself if you can handle the possibility of juggling more than one part-time assignment. If not, you might need to look for steadier work from one employer.
Once you have decided what kind of job you want, find out about how you will need to pay taxes. If you are self-employed, the tax rules are likely different than if you work as a regular employee for an organization.
Working from home requires you to take substantial risks on a number of fronts. If you are starting a business, you are taking capital away from your family and not promising any immediate returns. How will this affect your current and future finances? You will also have to balance time away from the kids, with time with them and with time for yourself.
Options for Working from Home
There are several options to work from home. Here are just a few of the more common work-at-home positions typically available:
- Online tutor
- Virtual administrative assistant
- Freelance writer
- Website/computer technician
- At-home customer service representative
Individual companies also hire for many other types of positions. Researching the different job websites dedicated to both traditional and work-at-home jobs will give you a better idea about which employers hire for what types of positions.
How to Handle Working from Home
As a mum working from home, you must first and foremost remember to stay organized. Balancing the needs and schedules of your children with those of work can be somewhat complicated at times. The more research you do about the type of job you want, the better prepared you will be to deal with child care issues and other matters that come up related to the job.
Also, take time for yourself. You will need a few minutes a day to regroup. You are managing a home as well as working. That is not easy to do. If you need help, reach out to those in your support network. They may help with child care, house cleaning, cooking or other tasks.