Why Millennials Are Choosing Work-From-Home Jobs
When Robert E. Kahn and Vint Cerf invented a prototype for the internet in the 1970s, it would have been hard for them to imagine the way that this global network would turn the world upside-down. In the early twenty-first century, people can now communicate across the world at the click of a button and a vast amount of published knowledge is available at the fingertips of internet users.
In the world of business, this global network has made it less and less necessary for employees and contractors to leave their front doors and head in to an office to work. After all, the internet allows you to access the same information at home that you would in the office and send it in for free via email or a cloud-storage service.
So how has this change affected millennials, and why are more and more of them choosing to work from home?
Millennials: The First Generation of Internet-Savvy Adults
Children born from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s—known as “millennials”—grew up in the era of computers and mobile phones, and most became acquainted with the internet as children or teenagers. With this worldwide knowledge bank at their disposal, school projects and college assignments suddenly became easier and faster than ever before, and this expectation of convenience and speed was translated into the workplace.
Advantages of Working from Home
As millennials have entered the workforce over the last twenty years, more and more of them have found ways to leverage the internet for commercial purposes and conduct business from home. In fact, now that we are well and truly into the 21st Century, estimates predict that over 50% of the U.S. workforce will consist of freelancers by 2027.
So, why are millennials choosing to work from home, and what are the advantages?
More Professional Autonomy
When you work in an office, you have set hours and are tied to the one company (along with the benefits of sick leave and health insurance, in some cases). By working at home, young professionals can work for as many companies as they like (or have as many businesses as they like) and can seek out novel ways to advance or grow their own income.
With no one looking over your shoulder and telling you how to do your job, the hours you work and the methods you use are up to you. What matters most to clients and employers is that you get the job done! While this way of working does require more self-motivation and discipline, it can also be extremely liberating.
With each generation that passes, we are becoming more and more mobile. Living in one house for your entire life is a thing of the past, with the average millennial planning to live in their current home for five years or less. Furthermore, travel has become much more accessible with lower airfares and higher disposable incomes.
With all of this geographical movement, maintaining a steady job in one place becomes difficult and opportunities for transfer are not always available. By working remotely on a laptop computer with a connection to the internet, employees and freelancers can do their jobs from anywhere in the world.
More Time with Family
Another advantage of “working from anywhere” is that millennials can be close to their loved ones all day. This makes working from home an attractive proposition for parents, homeschoolers, and couples or friends who enjoy working side-by-side on their online projects. In times past, you could only choose your friends; now, you can also choose your coworkers!
Save Time and Money
By staying at home, many of the costs associated with “going to work” are reduced or even eliminated. Consider the following costs that can be reduced (or claimed on tax) by working at home:
- Uniforms and drycleaning
- Take out lunches
- Makeup and hair styling
- After-work parties
Of course, if you run your work-from-home enterprise from a coffee shop, the cost of food might be even higher!
By working from home, time spent commuting in peak-hour traffic can instead be spent on achieving a better work-life balance: sleeping, exercising, and hanging out with family.
The Kinds of Jobs That Millennials Are Doing from Home
Some of the most popular work-from-home options currently include:
More and more companies are recognizing that not all work has to be done at a physical office, and are offering telecommuting options to their employees. Telecommuting to a virtual office space allows workers to enjoy many of the same benefits as they would working for a traditional employer (health insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, and more) while working from the comfort of their own home office (or coffee shop!). This is especially applicable to more non-client facing roles, such as:
- Data entry
- Medical transcription
- Virtual administrative assistant
As a freelancer, you sell your services to individuals and companies around the world. A person or company hires you to complete a task, you get it done and send it back, and they pay you upon receipt of your work. Freelancers may spend a lot of their time bidding for jobs and providing quotes, and will need to factor that into their going rates. Some of the most common freelance jobs online are:
- Content writing
- Graphic design
- Web design
- Photo editing
Running a Handmade Business
If you like to make things and want to cash in on the online marketplace, you could start a handmade business at home and market your products online. Some products you could sell include:
- Soy candles
- Crochet dolls
Running a Digital Business
This is similar to the freelancer idea, but can be grown to the size of a company. Businesses are always looking for ways to improve their systems and increase their viability, and online professionals can help. If you enjoy working with data and programming languages, consider the following work-at-home business ideas:
- Software development
- Web design
- SEO marketing
- Affiliate marketing
Creating and Selling Digital Products
Finally, a smaller group of millennials is making a nice passive income by creating digital products that can be sold in unlimited quantities. The fact that these products are entirely digital mean that there is no overhead in terms of printing, burning discs, packaging, or shipping. Here are some of the most common digital products that can generate a passive income:
Other At-Home Businesses
For the advantages of a business at home without going online, there are a number of other options out there that usually involve people coming to you. Consider the following jobs for an independent, home-based business:
- Family day care
- Private tutoring
- Pyramid sales programs
- Classes for parents and small children
- Massage therapy and other health services
- Professional consulting from a home office
The Best Way to Start Is to Have a Go
Just like any business, it can take time to build up a client portfolio and make a decent living from your work-at-home endeavor, but the flexibility and freedom that working at home can provide makes it well worth the effort.
For more ideas about where to start, you can find tips and ideas in the article The 7 Fastest-Growing Remote Jobs of 2019.
Tiffany Young (Rauschenberger) is a freelance writer, content strategist, and former graduate assistant. She frequently writes about the latest developments in teaching, public policy, standardized testing, and educational technology for sites like HeyTutor.