Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another UNH student's article for Newswriting

Working from home isn't perfect, but it's close

By Amanda Johnson
For Nancy Lacy and a rising number of American employees, working from home has become the ultimate convenience.
“I make breakfast each morning, make lunches for the kids, see them off to school, and on my lunch break I do my laundry and prepare for dinner,” she said.
It is a typical day for Lacy, a mother of two and home-based employee.
“It is nice to be able to get up from the computer and stretch and grab a snack. I feel much more relaxed everyday not having to worry about rushing to and from work to beat the traffic.”
Working from home or “telecommuting” as it has been called, Lacy can eat healthier and save money on gas.
“I don’t stop at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and I don’t run out to Burger King for lunch,” Lacy said. Lacy has been working from home for a few years and has seen drastic changes in her lifestyle. When her children were younger, she could take some time during the day to take care of them and play, and then she would work later at night when they were asleep.
Home-based workers enjoy not worrying about gas, which averaged $3.08 per gallon as of October this year according to the Energy Information Administration. An increasing number of Americans are enjoying this luxury, according to the most recent report from the Department of Labor that indicates more than 20 million Americans already telecommute.
Home-based employment does have its disadvantages. The one-on-one and group contact is lost, and socializing with co-workers may only be possible through e-mail. Because many home-based jobs are for large corporations, a yearly Christmas party is unlikely as it would be too costly to assemble co-workers from all over the country (and sometimes the world).
Working from home can come with some heavy responsibilities. Self-discipline and knowing how to keep work and home life separate can be difficult, home workers say. Taking lengthy lunches or long breaks can hurt your performance and you will likely lose your job if you keep up these bad habits.
Jennifer Heck, another home-based employee, shares the joys of working from home but also admits there is a downside.
“When I first started my job, I slipped into lazy habits. I would wake up really late some days and always wait until the afternoon to shower. I never really got dressed, so when it came time to go out at night or on the weekends, putting on clothes that were not sweatpants and a T-shirt felt uncomfortable.”
Heck offers some helpful tips to anyone considering working from home. She recommends getting up on time for when you are scheduled to be at your computer, as well as taking a shower in the morning and really getting dressed. “I noticed after I forced myself to get dressed, I felt less lazy and actually made an effort to meet some of my friends for lunch instead of using that time to shower,” Heck said.
Television and radio are great ways to connect with the world outside your home office, but they should used sparingly. According to mobileoffice.com, home workers should stay away from the tube except for news programs. For other shows, they should record and watch them after work.
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to have your own business. Many companies offer positions working from home because the arrangement helps attract and retain employees. Some positions that offer opportunities for working from home include copy editor, administrative assistant, desktop publisher, data entry clerk, computer software engineer and corporate event planner. Almost every field has an opportunity for home-based work.
According to a survey conducted in 2004 by the International Telework Association and Council, the number of Americans who worked from home from as little as one day a year to full-time grew from 41.3 million in 2003 to 44.4 million in 2005.
Because of growing environmental concerns and technological progress since then in computing and communications, working from home is a viable option for many. And for the employer it can be very cost-efficient. A study cited on the Environmental Protection Agency Web site estimated that $23 billion could be saved in transportation, environmental and energy costs if there were a 10 to 20 percent increase in telecommuting.
For Nancy Lacy, telecommuting has been her way of life for almost 5 years and she says she certainly enjoys all the benefits of it, despite minor disadvantages. “I could not ask for more,” she said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.