From Stay-at-home to Work-from-home

Rethinking Work-at-home Possibilities

How many people are looking to work from home today? Everywhere on the internet, pop-ups will offer 50 to 75 dollars an hour for work-at- home jobs; dozens of pictures are going round showcasing thousands of dollar checks earned in one week and inboxes or spam folders overflow with emails titled “earn money from the comfort of your home”.

It would seem that thanks to the internet it’s become a trend to work from home for an extra buck. But needing more money is no trend, it’s a reality.

Unfortunately today’s economy is not only affecting those families who have lost one of their incomes. Everyone is in need of additional cash to sustain a life, which up until a year ago was fairy alright; such is the case of the families with stay-at-home moms.

So it’s curious that no one has mentioned these women who once had a job and who might even have college degrees. What is their situation? Are they better off because they have degrees or worked for a number of years in their fields?

It would seem so; President Obama has been promoting the “back-to-school” project that states that with a higher education “moms” can attain better paying jobs in the future. But is it true? In today’s job market for example, can a degree change the outcome? The sad reality is that it will not, at least not for everyone.

The market itself is the first obstacle for anyone out to get more money, there is far too much demand and few jobs are being offered. This means that competition to obtain any position is fierce. Only people who have a college degree, at least 2 years of experience and absolute domain over the software and new technologies of the field are the ones who might have a shot at a decent salary.

Stay-at-home moms, who are looking to rejoin the work force, are competing with people who just lost their jobs and have both the experience and the know-how. Those who left work only a couple of years ago might have less to worry about. But what about the stay-at-home mom that left work a decade ago? Where do they stand?

Outdated knowledge diminishes their competitive edge. It’s hard to say what will happen to those stay-at-home moms who have no way of coming back to work where they left off. Some are using their other expertise to attain an income. Many have become teachers or are looking for part-time jobs.

Some are taking advantage of the online colleges to get new degrees. But a good number of them are simply lowering their expectations and tossing away their careers because they are accepting whatever they can get.

And once again, but because of different circumstances, they find that their future is moving nowhere because there is no career to be made in positions such as the ones they are forced to accept for the money.

As a result, perfectly capable women with working experience, who already have college degrees are earning far less than they need to or deserve.

Under the circumstances, these women are faced with a difficult question, is going back to low paying jobs worth the effort? If it implies that a good chunk of their earnings will most likely have to go into daycare and little can be done with the rest, the effort defiantly seems almost worthless. And here is where the work-at-home idea comes in, and why it’s gained so much popularity lately.

But despite its popularity, the internet is most certainly not solving their problems. Regardless, if the option is to use part of their hard earn money to commute and pay daycare or to stay-at-home and work-from-home without having to use up any of the earnings, the choice seems simple.

It is oddly contradictory that at the same time that money is being injected into an education plan that will see its results in no less than two years; so many women have to throw away their education for a paycheck.

So it begs to question, how many of the women who are taking advantage of the back-to-school initiative will suffer this same fate in the future.

It seems inevitable if more jobs are not offered. And if people are losing their jobs and women who were perfectly well staying away are now back, how can the balance ever be restored?

How can companies who need to cut back generate more jobs? But there is a light in the horizon, one that has been proven to work, believe it or not, since the seventies.

Today, just about anyone can have access to virtual private networks, conference calling, videoconferencing, and Voice over IP (VOIP).

As broadband Internet connections become more common and even cheaper, more and more workers have enough bandwidth at home to use these tools to link their home office to their corporate intranet and internal phone networks. This is called telecommuting.

Telecommuting is an option usually only used to save important amounts of travel time and cost, not as an employment option. However it does exist, though few employees are hired under this concept. And it’s hard to imagine why, if there is such an incredible number of women perfectly capable and willing to work from home?

Part of the reason is that traditional line managers are accustomed to managing by observation and not necessarily by results. For remote workers to excel a management style would have to be implemented based on results instead of close scrutiny. But if it has been done therefore, it should be able to be done for entire departments.

The tradeoff for readjusting management standards would be, cutting down the cost of maintaining a physical place to house those employees who would now work from remote locations.

There is also the option of not outsourcing to other nations and instead, to hire from the now growing pool of people seeking jobs at home. Those positions are already being worked from remote locations and supervision and control standards for those outsourced employees are already in place.

So for these women this could be a window of opportunity, because instead of working-at-home with no benefits other than an additional income, they could be hired by companies.

Stay-at-home momswould jump at the idea of shifting to work-from-home-moms if a paycheck and benefits were attached to the title, wouldn’t they?

So, there just might be a way to readjust the balance and not let these women lose so much, because at the end of the day they resurfaced due to the economical situation, it’s not just them and their careers on the line, it’s their families’.