Central Western Daily, 2 April 2007
In reply to CWD 01 April 2007 "Working from home can lead to depression", I have worked from home for 10 years as a Web developer and technical writer. It saves me time travelling. I use the Internet to send and receive work for me to do, easy as most of what I do is over the Internet. Australians still prefer face-to-face meetings but I try to keep them short and only at the start of a contract to iron out specifications then do most of the contract remotely via the Internet. This works very well. I can also choose times to work that are most productive e.g. evenings or weekends so that I get a job done. This is very flexible and cannot be achieved working from an office for a boss. Being a knowledge worker it is easy to work over the Internet from home. It keeps overheads down and makes my business very productive, competitive, dynamic and not bogged down like traditional offices. Most of my contacts I contact via email, online chat, telephone, mobile phone or Skype calls over the Internet. Americans are much quicker to use this technology and now India and China. To get home, I just walk 3 metres to my lounge room and kitchen and do not have to fight traffic. I sold my car because I didn't need transport to work, another saving and less pollution. Working from home in a home office is ideal for a microbusiness with less than 5 people on the staff. Out here in the country I can still get business from Sydney or USA or UK no problems. Google brings in customers using my Website. Distance is not an object like traditional work where you have to live in the same city as the customer. Cyberspace opens up many opportunities for small businesses to flourish in country areas with their low overheads. I now have ADSL2+ broadband (very fast - 18MBits/sec) so am fully setup now to download software, movies and training online without suffering from isolation or lack of resources like would have happened when I had to rely on the boss to buy a book or let me attend a course. I just click on the online book or course and away I go! Lately I have mastered remote assistance so I can now assist people remotely on their PCs using broadband by logging into their PC without having to be in their premises. This is very powerful and lets me service people outside metropolitan areas where they often do not have enough technical staff to service them. So being a home-based business has helped me push the envelope and find ways around what may have been easy in an office. It has helped me grow as a business to be dynamic and agile and get problems solved quickly and easily without having to be there in person. Also being a home-based business helped me survive the dot com crash because I did not have high overheads or cashburn when sales dropped and I could pack away my non-essential gear and travel to work easily and still use online services to handle my bookkeeping and management functions making me very flexible and quick to respond. All this came because I was non-traditional and worked from home. So may be I have bucked the trend and done quite well working from home. The best thing has been letting me develop my talent and not be held back by infrastructure and budgets like a traditional company. That has let me develop new products and services that a traditional company would have struggled to get going for many years. The only depression has been with cheap-skate customers who think because my overheads are low they can squeeze me so I put in place legal infrastructure to keep those wolves at bay.
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