An average adult American works 47 hours per week. That’s 9.4 hours per day for a 5-day job.
If you sleep for 7 hours a day, your waking hours are 17 hours. That means you are likely to spend 55% of your waking hours at your workplace. And we haven’t even included the soul-crushing commute and its energy cost.
We should spend more time at home, way more than the measly 45% of your waking hours. Home is central to our personal and family life. It’s the place where the things and the people we care about so much and love belong. It is a safe harbor and a warm incubator for those who are starting out in business.
But we don’t just go to the workplace without a reason. Hint: it has something to do with money. If we stop working, we will not be able to provide for our family.
Lucky for us, we live in the hyper-connected digital era. There are more opportunities for us to generate income remotely than ever before (thanks, internet!).
So what can you do in the year 2018 to start living a rich and immensely fulfilling home-based life? Below are some tips that will help you to jump-start your new life.
Ways to start living a home-based life in 2018
Talk to your boss about working from home.
No, don’t just walk into her office — not until you’re fully prepared. You want to be in a strong position when the conversation happens.
Evaluate yourself. Be realistic. Not all jobs can be done remotely. If you are a receptionist, your physical presence on-premise is pretty much a must (at least not yet with the current state of technology). Some examples of jobs that can be worked remotely are software developers, writers, customer service, and sales.
Also, are you really ready for the change? Although research shows that employees are more productive when working from home, working away from the physical team results in lower visibility which might jeopardize your next performance review. (the same productivity study shows that home workers are less likely to get promoted). We are only human after all, and human are irrational even when they say they are not.
Ask yourself are you performing at the current job? If you’re an average performer, the conversation will most likely be fruitless.
How long have you been working for your employer? The more senior you are, the better chances you have at getting your transition approved. You may not want to try this if you’re only one month into the job.
Once you’re have gone through the sanity checks, you should start gathering information.
Find out your employer’s work-from-home policy. It’s perfect if there’s an official HR policy on this, if there isn’t one, you can start looking for pre-existing cases instead.
Are there other employees of the company who are already working from home? Do you know them? Try to talk to them, find out how did they do it.
Determine the decision chain. Who are the decision makers? That could be your direct supervisor, or a chain of managers up the management chain. It helps that the decision makers are aware of your value to the team.
Time the conversation. Ideally, have the conversation with your boss when you’re getting recognized for your contribution to the company. For example, after you help solve a difficult issue or after you complete an important project. The last thing you want to do is to have the conversation when you’re the most vulnerable e.g. right after you screw something up or during the company is trimming its workforce.
Be prepared to answer a lot of questions. Below are some questions that you should be prepared for. Some common ones are, why do you want to start working remotely? Why should the company let you work remotely?
Be open to negotiation. Working remotely is becoming more and more common, but it’s still a rarity. So stay fluid, stay flexible. Be ready to negotiate and adjust your terms so that you and your employer both come out as winners. For example, if working remotely full-time is too much of a challenge for your employer, offer to work remotely only 3 days a week (or less) instead.
Further reading: (Harvard Business Review) How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home
Sometimes it’s easier to start from scratch than try to change something.
If your employer is unlikely to let you start working remotely, you may want to start looking for a new job instead.
There are many companies that are either fully distributed and partially distributed — meaning they are friendly to working remotely. You can find a list of distributed companies at the bottom of this section.
The salary and benefits these companies offer may vary, and they may consider the flexibility of choosing your work location a benefit (which they could use as an excuse to justify lower salary).
How to find a remote job online? You can either go through an online job portal or contact a distributed company directly.
Online job portals
You can also try these freelance work matching websites, these are mostly for finding freelance work, but you can sometimes find employment opportunity. Note that the employer may be an individual or a micro company.
- Automattic (WordPress)
- Mozilla (Firefox)
More distributed companies:-
Living List of Distributed Companies (WorkingRemote.ly)
76 Virtual Companies and Distributed Teams (FlexJobs)
Starting a home-based business can be extremely rewarding in terms of gaining financial freedom and feeling accomplished.
Plus you get to spend more time at home. The flexibility in terms of time and location is what makes me excited and passionate about home businesses.
Your actual mileage may vary depending on the business that you’re starting, but if you’re a blogger like me, you’ll love the enormous amount of freedom that comes with it — I promise.
Unfortunately, starting your own business is not risk-free.
In fact, failure is a very real possibility. But as long as you don’t take too much risk, you could plan the business in such a way that even if it failed, you will walk away from it with minimal financial impact and a full bag of useful experience.
Having said that, it’s not as difficult as it seems to develop a sustainable home business. Take notice of the emphasis on sustainability.
It’s not as difficult as it seems to develop a sustainable home business.
Most people set their goals too high. Having ambitious goals is not a bad thing per se, but there’s another angle for this. And that angle is to start a business not to get rich but as a means of living a well-balanced life. Think of your business simply as a way to replace your job as the source of income.
As for home business ideas, check out my Work from Home Tips — I post some ideas there from time to time.
I’m not even joking. Becoming a stay-at-home wife or husband is a great way to start spending more time at home. Obviously, you won’t have to commute anymore.
Committing yourself to caring for your loved ones is very meaningful work. Plus if you have kids, you get to spend more time with them you won’t otherwise be able to.
However, before we go any further, I don’t recommend the traditional stay-at-home (SAH) mom model. Become a part-time SAH spouse instead. You will find out more about this in the following paragraphs.
Being a full-time SAH spouse is not an easy option. There is more housework to do than you can possibly imagine. Try your best to imagine the amount of work and responsibility of a SAH spouse — there’s way more than that!
With the traditional model, you run the risk of getting under-appreciated by the society and your spouse. There is a stigma attached to being a stay-at-home spouse, even if you do so willingly, as if you are being dominated by your partner.
In my opinion, this is a perversion in our capitalist society. Don’t let that from stopping you, but keep it in mind that there will be some form of bias. Especially if you’re a guy, I imagine.
As for your spouse, there needs to be an understanding between you two — that being a SAH spouse is very demanding, and it’s very much a real job (that doesn’t pay). Some kind of arrangement, perhaps, that will help to preserve your role and pride.
Become a part-time stay-at-home spouse instead
I recommend that you become a part-time SAH spouse instead. What does that mean? It means you will be partially committed to working on your side business.
The percentage of your commitment is entirely up to you, 30%, 50%, 70%… Which implies that the remaining work is to be done by the spouse who is working full-time — and being involved in doing housework help your spouse to appreciate the work you’re doing more.
You will work consistently on growing your business. That business could one day be profitable enough for your spouse to quit his/her day job!
There are many reasons why you will want to spend more time at home.
Some of the common reasons are to spend more time with the kids, tired of commute (not to mention the negative impact it has on the environment), and just love the comfort of being in your own house.
For me, as an introvert, I just really enjoy staying home most of the time. I deeply appreciate the companionship of my wife (who also works from home full-time) and my cat.
What about you? Why do you want to spend more time at home? Share with us your story in the comment section below.