A survey by Benefits Canada concluded that in 2017 47% of Canadians worked remotely or at home for at least part of the work week. 39% of these surveyed said that they mostly worked from home and 11% said they worked exclusively from home. These numbers are bound to rise as more and more people want to avoid the daily commute and find ways to work at home.
There are many ways that you can work either fully or partly from home – here are five examples that offer the chance to avoid the commute, but they all have some pros and cons.
This is a home-based job where you work for an employer rather than in your own business. The advantages include receiving employee benefits and not having to worry about irregular income and little to no start-up costs. The disadvantages can include lack of flexibility in hours of work, possible lower pay compared to on-site jobs.
To get a work-at-home job you still have to demonstrate in your resume that you have the necessary skills and experience to do the job. Your present employer may be open to telecommuting if you give them a good work-at-home proposal otherwise look for companies who are hiring work-from-home workers. Jobs suitable for telecommuting include bookkeeping, writing and virtual office support.
Contract and freelance work are pretty much the same thing with only a few slight differences. Many of the jobs you see advertised hire workers as contractors instead of employees. Contract jobs can be full or part-time, with regular hours and a steady income the same as a regular job. However, contractors are considered to be independent from the company and are responsible for paying their own taxes.
Pros of contract work include being able to negotiate fees, greater flexibility in hours and location of work. The cons include the hours of work may be less than you would like, companies can easily let you go, you have to pay your own taxes, you rarely get benefits.
Freelancing is similar to contact work in that you are hired by a company to provide a service. However, when you work freelance you normally have more control of the work that you take, how you do it, and how much you are paid. Freelances often work under their own company name as a sole proprietor but they can become a limited liability company if they wish to. Freelancers market their services on social media, by networking, or on job sites. Common freelance jobs include writing, marketing, accounting, web design and graphic design.
Pros of freelancing include greater flexibility in your schedule, greater control over the work that you do, and the ability to set your own fees and rates. The cons are the irregularity of work and the difficulties of finding clients, paying your own taxes and no employee benefits.
Starting your own Business
Many people are scared off of starting their own business believing it to be difficult and complicated, but with the right help and advice, it can be easier than you think. Businesses are usually product based where you sell a tangible product, or service based such as home cleaning or graphic design.
The pros of starting your own business include the flexibility in your working hours and pricing, the ability to turn something that you love into a business, and for service-based businesses easy and affordable to start. The cons may be that your income is irregular as it takes time to get started, you may have start-up costs, you may have to work longer hours during your start-up, and you will have to pay for your own benefits.
Buying a Home Business
You can buy an existing business from an owner, buy a franchise, or buy a direct sales business. The pros of buying an existing business or a franchise are that you are not starting from scratch, the business already has clients or people are familiar with the franchise, so it is easier to get customers. For direct sales you need to pick a product that you believe in so that prospective customers are influenced by your enthusiasm. In all cases marketing plans and materials are usually provided for you.
The cons of buying a home based business are that it can be expensive to start out, there might be limitations on how and where you can market to build your business and it can be difficult to build a successful reputation when competing against competition in the same industry.