According to recent statistics, there are some 2.8 million home-based workers in the United States, equating to 2 percent of the adult workforce. The trend towards a mobile, home-based workforce is catching on as more businesses opt for low-cost work arrangements.
Most commonly, home-based workers provide specific tasks or skills to the business as defined by a working contract between the two parties. In some situations, these individuals contribute to the day-to-day tasks required in an office, but may connect via web-based applications and virtual offices.
Employers must define whether the home-based worker is an employee or an independent contractor for taxation requirements. With an independent contractor agreement, an employer has less overall control over when, where, and how tasks are performed than it would have in a traditional employee-employer agreement. If a home-based worker is an actual employee, the employer may impose specific work hours and shifts to be honored, as long as they also remember overtime pay and benefits are required.
Numerous benefits exist in this type of employee relationship. The staff has more freedom with child care and commuting. Employers need less office space to dedicate towards the business. Technology allows employers to monitor at-home workers via an Internet connection in some instances. This relationship may lead to more flexibility, reduced absenteeism in the workplace, improved job satisfaction, and reduced turnover for employers.