According to an interview to Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of the popular website Flexjobs, there are more and more worldwide companies offering remote and/or flexible jobs. This growing trend is apparently due to both logistic and financial benefits for the companies themselves, but also to a consistently increasing request from workers. I personally think that working from home is a great options for new moms, but it’s not so true for everyone. Some people might need a deeper insight before making a decision.
Are you one of them? Then stick with me so that you can have a better idea if it’s something that would really work for you!
Indeed, it seems like it’s becoming a very tempting option, especially for those who have a family they’d like to spend more time with.
But is working from home for everyone? And for moms specifically?
From my personal experience as a mama, I think it’s important to evaluate all pros and cons of online jobs, starting by considering what your needs are.
Do you need a long or short term solution?
Clearly, to be able to evaluate if online jobs could be the solution to her problems, a mom should always consider her own current and very personal situation as well as future goals. For example, if working from home is a temporary solution during your maternity leave, my advice is to choose one or more of these options:
- Ask your boss if, during maternity leave, you can keep working part time from home. I wouldn’t suggest to immediately go back full time, not even from home, because the commitment with a newborn is pretty intense. Especially if you don’t have anyone helping you, you should keep in mind that you’ll most likely work while she’s napping (and you’d like to close your eyes and rest as well). So don’t make promises you can’t keep, ok?
- Choose a freelance job, ergo a temporary job. To make some extra money while you’re home with your little one, this is definitely a great option, until you’ll have more time or you’ll be able to go back to your full-time job.
- Opt for a flexible job. This will allow you to choose when you want to work throughout the day. The reason is because with a newborn is almost impossible to plan anything. Sure, you should be able to stick with her napping/feeding schedule, but we’re not raising machines here, right? We’re talking about babies. So scheduling an appointment to teach an English lesson and end up calling out last second because you’re still breastfeeding or the baby is crying, I’m afraid it wouldn’t be very professional.
Instead, if working online is for you a long term goal (meaning that you have no intention to go back to your old job), then my advice is to find some “minor” jobs at first, both to be able to handle maternity at the same time and to acquire some experience with this new life style.
We’ll shortly see that there are specific and unique traits in all online jobs. So the best way is to try different types before diving into something bigger.
But most importantly to see if you actually like it. After all, reality is not always as we expect it to be, right?
This being said, we can finally dive in all the online jobs pros and cons, especially for moms like us.
You ready? Let’s start by listing the cons because I like happy endings 🙂
Online jobs CONS
- Very rarely they offer an actual employment contract. Meaning that most of the times we’re talking about freelance or independent contractor jobs which have their own advantages (we’ll see them shortly), but on the other side, they can be terminated in any moment (been there) or most likely have a specific end date. Unless it’s the same company you already work for who offers you to keep doing your job from home, it’s very difficult to find a stable contract.
- No, or almost-no human interaction during work time. Yep! While normally in an office you can meet up with your colleagues anytime, when you work from home this is simply not contemplated. You can surely exchange professional emails or chat, but no “company” for the sake of it or coffee breaks with your buddy.
- It requires excellent organizational skills. The lack of confrontation with co-workers can lead you to feel lost sometimes. Not everyone is able to get organize and prioritize if there’s none above them managing the work flow and, sometimes, you’ll have to wait a while before getting an answer via email from your superior.
- You need discipline and concentration skills. If necessary, you’ll have to find the strength to shut off all the distractions. This means silent your phone, turn off social media notifications and possibly have a designated quiet space in your home (this depends on the type of job, it’s not always necessary). You’ll also need to give yourself daily goals and stick to them as much as possible.
- You must know how to say NO to your own employers. Wait, what? Yes, you got it right! When they offer you the “freedom” to work from home, sometimes they might expect you to be on call 24 hours a day. It’s very important, crucial I’d say, to agree upon what days and hours you’ll be available and productive VS when you will not exist for anyone. Especially if you want to take advantage of the pros that I’m about to list for you. If you can’t set very specific boundaries, you might end up working more than necessary.
Online Jobs PROS – yaaay 🙂
- Freelance jobs have their own pros. One of these is tax return (which may vary depending on where you live). Another one is multitasking. With freelance jobs none stops from working for multiple clients/companies at the same time if you’re good at managing your time. On top of that, usually a well done job leads to another, then another and so on, increasing your experience and reputation in the field. It’s a great start.
- Less human interaction is, for some people, a huge push. Less distractions, less waste of time and more focus on the job. In short, less “chatting” can boost your productivity, allowing you to complete your job in less time, which leads to more free time during the day.
- Organizational and self discipline skills are an opportunity for personal growth. Even those who find these things harder than others, with a little bit of patience they can acquire these skills which are always a great professional (and private life too) experience. And as plus, it’s an add on even if you want to go back to your full time job. Someone who can focus without outside inputs, be more productive, independent and organized is always appreciated in any field.
- Money and time saving. No commuting which means no traffic and no money wasted in gas =equal= more time and less expenses.
- Less time restrictions. With a classic office job you have to show up at a specific time, regardless of the amount of work you need to do. With online jobs you can manage the “when” and the “how”. As I widely explained in my previous article about working from home, for new moms is absolutely a great advantage. Let’s say your child gets sick. With online jobs you can easily start your day later without too much explanation, having to call a trillion people to justify or excuse yourself to. Unexpected events are very common in mama’s life and having to call out every single time can be very stressful. With most online jobs you can take care of your baby and make the work fit your needs instead of the other way around. I’m not saying it’s all rainbows and unicorns, but the fact that it’s possible is, to me, a huge plus.
- Possibility to work from wherever you want. With few exceptions, usually a laptop is more than enough to do the work, which means that you can work from your couch or in your patio (if you like being outdoor like me). Even better, if you need to leave, you don’t have to take a day off. Now, don’t expect to work from the beach (also because I don’t see the point of a vacation there), but let’s say you need to travel. You can use the time in the airplane, train or even in the car (clearly if you’re not the driver) to keep working.
- Less stress. While this can seem a very personal point of view, I assure you that it’s not. How many times did you arrive at work already pissed off because traffic was obscene or because you had to witness the worst things on the train? Or even worse, there was an accident that made you arrive late. The day didn’t start very well, right? If you also add up that your boss couldn’t care less of the excuse and points out that files on your desk are piling up…. Aaarrgh!! I personally used to go crazy because of these things. On top of all this, we need to consider that maternity brings by itself a lot of exhaustion and thoughts for a new mom. Well, that does it, right? Instead, once you’ve learned how to optimize your time working from home, you’ll master all possible unexpected events, with a lot less stress.
- It can be the perfect temporary solution. As mentioned above, online jobs can be a choice that’ll allow you to face specific time in your life without necessarily selling your soul or quit working. I, as a mama, like to mention maternity, but it could be also being close to someone in need of care as well as a temporary option for students who want to save some money, and so on.
Online jobs pros and cons according to experts.. How much of it is true?
Reading some online articles and interviews to experts in this field, it seems like in some Countries, remote jobs are still very behind compared to others. Italy, where I’m from, is one of them for example. Online jobs pros and cons are today pretty clear both to companies and employees.
Although, it seems like in some Countries, companies prefer to keep workers more “at hand” (and under control), while others international companies already adopted the philosophy of independent worker as a way to increase motivation and productivity while reducing the expense.
The second things that gets the attention and for which in my opinion there’s no explanation, is that nowadays more and more people consider starting an online job when (according to the experts) there are more cons rather than pros. If it’s true that disadvantages are so obviously clear, why is this trend growing so much? I really can’t explain it. I don’t argue experts opinion, I just think that every person should consider their own needs and personality.
So, to answer the initial question “is it really for everyone?” it comes natural to me honestly answering that, if I can do it (and I’m naturally a mess), anyone can 🙂 Clearly, anyone who has the desire to.
Some people think that working from home means doing nothing all day, which is not true.
As you might have noticed by now, my personal pros and cons scale definitely leans towards the pros. In my opinion, all the cons listed are heavily counterbalanced by the advantages, or are things that anyone can master in time, just like in any other job. But this is just my personal point of view.
The freedom that online jobs give, especially if you’re a mom, it’s not comparable to any of the pros of working outside your house. Sure, sometimes it can feel lonely and you might miss your colleagues to joke with or talk to, but you have a lot more time for yourself, to go out with your friends or spend with your family.
No more afternoons spent pretending to work because you can’t leave work until 5 even if you have nothing to do, when you could use that time to do something you love or be more productive somewhere else.
I personally learned to manage both regular jobs and online jobs, sometimes at the same time, including also mama and wife’s life. But if you asked me which one allows me to better handle my work life and enjoy more time with my son, I would not hesitate a second. Online jobs are for sure the only ones that give me this kind of freedom, so much that I also have time to write this blog 🙂
If you’d like more info on where to find legit work from home opportunities (watch out for scams), read the article I mentioned above about working from home.
And what’s your personal experience in the field of remote work? Does your scale lean in the same direction as mine, now? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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