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Feature

Employment at Home

- Nurul Islam Laskar

For many years after independence, service meant government service. Anyone looking for a job would opt for a government job as his first preference. In the seventies and eighties, government departments got saturated with people and were not in a position to provide much more employment. So the government laid stress on other avenues of employment and encouraged the unemployed to go for self-employment. Many new schemes were announced and banks were encouraged to provide loans to help generate self-employment. In recent years, more so after globalization and liberalization of the economy, MNCs and private sector have expanded in a big way and they are providing substantial employment to the skilled and qualified personnel.

But in a populous country like India, neither the government sector nor MNCs, private sector or employment schemes can take care of the massive problem of unemployment. In this context, what has come as a boon is the opportunity to work from home - the time has come for the home entrepreneur. The activities of a home enterprise can be broadly divided into three segments - manufacturing, providing a service and selling or marketing. Under manufacturing, one can consider making greeting cards, gift items, food products and clothes for special occasions, running a boutique etc. Selling and marketing could be common to manufacturing and providing a service. This includes delivery of items to the homes and offices of clients or arranging home repairs. Providing a service requires the least capital and involves less risk. Services could be provided in a number of fields - IT, Consultancy, proof-reading, editing, feature syndication, artistic work, beauty culture, tuition and coaching. Providing security cover or detective service from a home office has also become popular in many cities today.

But one must be careful in choosing the activity, for example, those who have the advantage of an earlier profession can put their experience to work. Those who have no experience of previous work can consider converting their hobby into work. Another important point that must be kept in mind is that one should choose a job or work according to one's budget and requirements. The golden rule is to start small, and let the business grow.

Unlike working from an office, working from home may be affected by domestic pressure and lack of supervision. So one must be strict with oneself and try to follow a time table with fixed hours of work. Moreover, work from home will have to be controlled to grow according to one's requirements and expectations.

Some housing societies and civic authorities impose certain restrictions on business or commercial activities in certain demarcated areas. It would be wise to check on this beforehand so that subsequent complications could be avoided. Self-motivation is of utmost importance for the success of home-based work. One must maintain deadlines and deliver work on time so that one's competence, capability and reliability can provide the impetus for more work.

Working from home has its disadvantages also. For example, one may not be able to ascertain the changing demands of the market. So one must keep one's eyes and ears open - and much of this these days can be done through the internet and telephone. One must also be open to new ideas and opportunities emerging from time to time, and change course at the right moment.

It is heartening that a number of entrepreneurial development agencies are coming forward to provide guidance and training for successful ventures to be run from home. Aspiring entrepreneurs may contact the National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Business Development, New Delhi or the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad for this purpose. In the North-east, the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Guwahati can be approached for help.

In summing up, we can say that anyone can be successful in running an enterprise from home. What is necessary is neither a large investment nor costly equipment - it is the right identification of businesses where unsatisfied customer demand prevails and a clear plan to fit into this vacuum. (PIB)