20 Jul 2022
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Can web designers work from home?
"Can web designers work from home?" is a question that many people seem to have on their lips these days. The COVID pandemic forced many people to work from home, and for many of them it opened up a whole new world. Some longed to go back to the office while others realized how much time they've gained by not commuting back and forward. The short answer to the question is yes, web designers can work from home, and many are in fact already doing that.
In some professions working from home has been a known and common practice for many years. Web design for example is one of them because most or all of the work is done via a computer. Tasks are usually assigned through a task-management system where you and your team can delegate things that need to be done and code repositories are located in the cloud where they are easy to get.
Imagine for a moment that you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, eat a little breakfast, and then go into your high-tech office where you will sit in your pajamas working while enjoying your own company. Maybe you will change to a shirt when the daily stand-up meeting happens, but besides that, you won't have to care about how you look. All that can be a reality if you work as a web designer.
Benefits of working from home vs the office
There is no doubt that many people prefer not having to commute or dress fancy for coworkers every single day, but there are also many that want the opposite. It all comes down to who you are as a person and what goals you have in life. Besides the goals, there are also practical benefits to working from home versus at the office.
Benefits of working from home
- You can ditch the daily commute to and from the office.
- You have more flexibility in your day and it becomes easier to manage.
- You often have flexible working hours.
- You can complete more tasks and assignments because of fewer distractions from your environment.
- You can be more comfortable by dressing as you want, working from the couch, or maybe in bed.
- You have more time together with your family and friends.
- It puts you in charge of your carbon footprint.
- You spend less money outside the home.
- You choose where you live since it doesn't have to be close to the office.
Benefits of working at the office
- You are more social as a person.
- It is easier and faster to get help from coworkers.
- You can do pair-programming.
- You save money on your electricity bill.
- You tend to compete more and keep up speeds to meet expectations.
- You can have face-to-face meetings.
- It becomes easier to separate work and home life.
- An office will ensure certain standards.
- It becomes easier to connect with your coworkers.
Traveling while working as a web designer
Being a web designer working from home also gives you opportunities others don't have. When all of your work is on a single computer you can simply bring it with you and work from where you are. There are of cause certain situations where this is not possible, like when you have an in-person meeting with a client, but with today's technology, these meetings can often be handled over Microsoft Teams. This is why many web designers use the opportunity to travel the world while earning money instead of sitting in the same office day in and day out. We are meant to live while we are here because we only have this one life.
Imagine traveling to a new country every month, seeing the world on your terms, and earning money while doing it. It sounds like a dream right? For many, this is something that they can only dream of when they work their 9 to 5 job in the factory, but for web designers, this is a legit solution. In my years as a web designer, I have met quite a few people that enjoyed traveling while working. They always talk about laying underneath a palm tree on a beach somewhere coding while sipping a cocktail, and every time I hear it it makes me want to try it too.
If you are interested in traveling while working as a web designer you should talk to your boss. Together you fill each other in on what is going to happen and what expectations the company you are working have. You have to remember that even though you are traveling you still have to work your hours and meet the expectations that are set. People often think this is hard, but if you are one of those that easily handle discipline even while traveling then you should go for it.
Should you be paid more or less when working from home?
This is always a debate I hear bosses have with each other when discussing employees working from home. Both sides have some great arguments as to why you should be paid less or why you should be paid more when working from home.
Personally, I think you should be paid the same no matter if you are working from home or working in the office. Studies show that when you are working from home you tend to work longer hours than your coworkers in the office. Also, when you are working from home you have expenses such as electricity, coffee or tea, lightbulbs, and other equipment that is needed to work, and when you work in the office you have to pay for transportation and lunch. I can't say how it is in other countries but if you are working from home in Sweden, the company you are working for can "rent" a room on your property so that they can pay a part of your internet and electricity usage while you are working.
A new study done by NPR's Planet Money shows that 38% of companies think that working from home can be used to moderate wage growth. This means that companies gladly use working from home as a trade-off to paying you less and even though many workers know it, they gladly say yes to keep working from home. So keep this in mind if you are going to negotiate your salary while working from home. Compare your total hours to the coworkers, and use them to raise your salary instead of lowering it. Remember the company you work for saves money on a seat, electricity, coffee, and much more when you choose to work from home.
Who should pay for your work equipment when you work from home? According to Ask a Manager (source), your boss should pay for all of the equipment you need to work, and this could be a computer, printer, paper, ergonomic chair, desk, etc. Some companies will pay for your internet as well and some won't because they think that having an internet connection is one of the prerequisites of working from home. What a company is paying varies a lot, and coming to an agreement is something you will have to do together with your company as there is no direct fine line.
Some countries might have laws that list out exactly what companies should pay and what the employee should pay, but in most cases, this is up to the individuals.
We are very interested in hearing from other web designers that are working from home, so please share your story below in the comments and help us share experiences that might help others either change careers or change their working environment.
I am a self-taught and highly passionate web developer currently living in Sweden, where I use my skills to make the internet a better place through ethical and sustainable web design.