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Working from Home: Do You Have a Back-Up Plan?

by Miranda Marquit

One of the great things about working from home, and running your own business, is that you have a great deal of flexibility. Your dress code is flexible. Your schedule is largely flexible. The types of jobs you take can be flexible. However, there are some issues that you can run into when you work from home, and these are not so flexible. One of those issues is what to do if your Internet is not available.

Working from Home: Do You Have a Back-Up Plan?

Work from home backup plan

Do you have a backup plan?

Technology has been a boon to me; it has provided me with a way to provide for my family while working from home. But what happens when the Internet is not accessible? When you rely on something being available to you in order to get your work done, it is important that it is always there for you. A day (or two!) of lost work can be costly, throwing off the family finances — especially if an important deadline is missed, and a client looks elsewhere as a result. Recently, I found out that I need a back-up plan for working from home.

In my case, when the Internet goes down, it becomes necessary to find someplace else to work. I don’t have a laptop (I work on a desktop), so I can’t just go down to the local wi-fi hotspot at the coffee shop. But the time limit at the library is one hour per day. So that limits me as well. My recent back-up plan consisted of doing what absolutely, positively had to be done right now in order to meet my commitments, in the hour available to me at the library. Of course, once had access to the Internet again, I was able to hop back on and get more done. In order to avoid this travesty, I think that I might need to buy a laptop — or at least a serviceable netbook — so that I am not unprepared.

Regular Jobs and a Back-Up Plan

A back-up plan isn’t just necessary for those who work from home, though. Even those who work more traditional jobs may find themselves needing a back-up plan. What happens if your car breaks down and you can’t get to work? Do you know the public transit schedule? Is there someone you can ride with? Do you have enough “personal leave” to cover unexpected emergencies?

The recent recession has taught many that lay offs are not the only threat to income from a regular job. You also have to worry about reduced hours. Do you have some other way of earning money in case your hours (and your income) are cut? Income diversity — cultivating multiple income streams — is one way to help you prepare for unexpected income reductions. An emergency fund can also be helpful as a back-up plan to a loss of income. It may not completely replace your income, but it can help you get through a tough time.

In the end, it is important to consider the factors that could impact your income, changing the way your money moves through your personal economy. Consider what could go wrong, and then create a back-up plan that can reduce the impact.

Photo credit: Scania Group


Published or updated December 26, 2012.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Craig

In the day of wi-fi and computers I think most people can do a majority of their work from home if need be.

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2 basicmoneytips

I read something not to long ago that the average family is 2 paychecks away from living on the street. Now I know in reality it is probably longer, because of legal related matters such as bankruptcy or eviction. However, I think that shows us the importance of plan and also an emergency fund. I am in corporate America as well, so I like most I am dependent on that job. I am working on alternate sources of income.

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3 Slackerjo

I am so glad to see an article about back up plans. If this post comes across as a rant, sorry, well it sort of is!!!

Nobody wants to look at the glass as being half empty but it’s a fact in our modern technology world. Stuff breaks. I did residential internet technical support for years and it is an unpleasant call when someone’s internet breaks and the turn around time to fix it is 2-4 days. The reason for that turn around time is that a residential internet is designed basically to be a toy. Sure it’s a great toy and a toy one can use to do their work but at the end of the day, it’s a toy. Residential internet is NOT designed to be used to generate an income. If you work from home a lot you need to think of a back up plan. For example:

Wireless: Wireless is great but it also is the number one call generator for tech support. Wireless is a fairly simple concept but people don’t want to learn how to configure and troubleshoot wireless. Why would someone not want to learn something? Well they have tech support to do it for them. configuring wireless can be a very long phone call you your ISP because the agent might not be able to see your wireless information (due to privacy laws) so the only option is to rebuild the network. This is time consuming because people have a lot of wireless devices in their households; computers, iphones, xbox, blackberry, the list of wireless devices is endless.

If you have a wireless connection in your home, and you are using that connection for work, you need to do know how wireless works. Simple as that. It’s a skill you need to learn to do your job just like you have to learn how to use the photocopier or use Excel. The good news is that wireless is very easy. You can master wireless configuration in about 15-30 minutes.

If you don’t want to learn how to manage wireless then the next step is ensure you at least know how to do a wired connection. Yes that means you won’t be able to sit on the couch to do your work but at least you can do your work at a desk. Like in the days of yore!

Redundancy: I used to get calls from people who told me they were losing money (the numbers ranged from $5000 to $1 million dollars a day) because their internet was down. If you are losing that kind of money, then you can afford to spring for another $50/month for a second connection. Since most of us are not losing a million dollars a day, at least have a backup dial up connection. Many internet providers do provide dial up as a contingency. Set up your connection before you have a problem and test the connection weekly.

Back up your data. External drives are very inexpensive and easy to use. If you lose data on your computer, really, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

This advice may seem harsh but when it comes to back up plans, it’s best to be brutally honest.

There are many situations in this world we cannot control and when problems arise, you have to roll with the punches. The good news is that only a tiny bit of knowledge is required to prevent disaster. Think “glass half empty” and when disaster strikes, you’ll be ready.

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