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Pro and Cons of Working from Home

Pro and Cons of Working from Home
House

There are many reasons for setting up office at home. One might need to be with the children or maybe saving office rent is a requirement. Just like there are innumerable reasons for working from home similarly there are many pros and cons that one must consider when setting up shop in the house.

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When you are working in a formal set-up, all the advantages of working from home seem to come to our minds. And many people often get attracted by the whole idea of being ones own boss. And there is no doubt about the fact that there are many rewards of working from home.

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  • More time with children – One of the main advantages of working from home is that one gets to spend much more time with the children. Monitoring their progress and providing them with the guidance that they may need for their development becomes easier.
  • Reduction in travel time – Another major advantage is that travel time is saved. Millions of people waste hours traveling to-and-fro from work. In fact commercial cities have unbearable traffic during the office hours that are aptly called the ‘rush hours’.
  • Savings in wardrobe – Not having to maintain a formal wardrobe is another aspect of working from home that is advantageous. There is no need to get into a suit or other such formal wear while working from home. One can just work in comfortable casual clothing and that might actually increase productivity.
  • Savings in office rent – If you have a separate office of your own and do not work for another company, working from home can mean a huge saving in office rent.
  • Savings in taxes – Taxes can be saved by ensuring a thorough filing of expenses that one incurs.
  • Some fixed expenses can be shared – Incidental expenses are lowered since they are shared by the home as well as the office. Telephone, stationary and other such overhead expenses are shared between the house as well as the office thus cutting cost if it is a personal business.
  • Flexibility – There is a lot of flexibility that comes with working from home. You can decide your own timings and can accommodate other tasks that need to be accomplished.

But life is not all rosy when working from home. On the flip side of the coin the disadvantages of working from home are aplenty too.

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  • Slips into slackness – Since there is no pressure to start work at a certain time or dress a certain way it is very easy to delay the start of work. Productivity can seriously decrease under such circumstances if great self discipline is not maintained.
  • Pressing personal chores – Personal chores can mount and get extremely difficult to avoid when one is at home. The tasks can be overwhelming and one could fall prey to it. Tasks that would otherwise take only fifteen minutes can end up taking up a lot more time.
  • Lack of competitive spirit – A major disadvantage of working from home is lack of human interaction. Colleagues and peers help in keeping the competitive spirit alive and enhance productivity. Going to office is a great way to get away from the stress at home and vice versa but if office is at home then there might be no escaping the stress.

With virtual offices being set up across the world working from home is no longer a thing of the past. Following a few simple tips and maintaining a high discipline can overshadow the cons and let you reap the fruits of the benefits.

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Vishal P. Rao runs the Work at Home Forum, an online community of those who work from home.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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