Work at Home as a Career is really not a new workplace idea

Written by admin on December 6th, 2010

In todays economy it is an attractive proposition to go back to working at home. You may be asking is that worded right? Well yes it is. You see the world once operated on a largely work at home industry model. When you consider Farming, Artisanship, Cottage Industries, and Sub contracting Businesses like, Outsourcing, Direct Sell and Home Business Models that always have operated out of the persons home, then really we are not talking about anything new as far as the work model of working at home or from your home.

 A glimpse of Preindustrial Societies before the first Industrial Revolution of 1790, show that most people were in agricultural work and Artisanship was their main form of production until the Industrial Revolution brought about Mass Production and division of labor to support it. Also then emerged many other Societal and Cultural changes the took people away from time spent at home to time spent at work, school, community support organizations and many other areas of development [Wikipedia Preindustrial society]. 

Historically women often worked mostly at home. Industry records around the 1840’s onward started to study the number of women and men in the workplace and at home. According to a BBC Report, British History in Depth, Womens Work, Studies of 1851 Census Records of England provinces and of London showed that Domestic Services was the largest Employment Industry of Women. The textile and clothing sectors came a close second. Women were also found in large numbers in metal-wares and pottery and in a variety of petty trades, especially in towns: confectionery, brewing and other provisioning, seamstressing, laundry work, cleaning and retailing. Until around the World War II Era the record keeping had large gaps of information and lapses in time periods of Reporting was common. [BBC Report British History in Depth Womens Work].

 An artisan was and still is a skilled manual worker who made (or makes) items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, and tools. The term can also refer to the craft of hand making food products, such as bread, beverages and cheese. They commonly Manufacture by hand and with hand tools imparting  unique and individual qualities to artisan products, in contrast to mass produced goods where every one is nearly identical. Artisans traditionally work in media such as stone, wood, ceramics, glass, common and precious metals, basketry, textiles, esparto glass, leather, fur, wax, paper, and flowers [Wikipedia Artisian]. 

Urban Artisans in Early America, before the transformation, shared a workshop that had a paternalistic and familial atmosphere. The master housed his family on the upper floors above his workshop, which also included young apprentices. The Artisan workshop prior to the turn of the 19th century was a blend of work, fellowship, and fun. Artisans ate, drank, and had lively discussions. The end of this era began with the first industrial revolution as merchants and capitalists seized more profits from artisans, forcing the artisans to produce more, and require larger places of business with higher demands on workers, ending the fellowship common to the early Artisans [Economic Transformation of the Artisan in Early America Jul 28, 2010 William L. Wunder] 

In Putting-Out, prominent from the 15th -19th centuries, work was contracted by a central agent to subcontractors who completed the work in their own facility, usually their own home. Although significant variation occurred, almost all of the contractors manufactured parts or fitted them through a highly decentralized, putting-out process using small workshops and highly skilled labor. The advantages of this system were that workers involved could work at their own speed while at home or, because they knew that in their home children working in the system would be better treated than they would have been in the factory system, although the homes were polluted by the toxins from the raw materials. [Wikipedia Putting-out system]. 

The development of Putting-Out as a trend is often considered to be a form of proto-industrialization and remained prominent until the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. It was mostly centralized in Western Europe and did not take a strong hold in Eastern Europe. The raw materials were often provided by the merchant, who received the finished product, hence the synonymous term putting-out system. It existed as early as the 15th century but was most prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was replaced by inside contracting and the factory system. [Wikipedia Putting-out system]. 

A Cottage Industry is an industry, primarily manufacturing, that includes many producers, working from their homes, typically part time. Some industries which are usually operated from large centralized factories were cottage industries before the Industrial Revolutions. The use of the term has expanded, and is used to refer to any event which allows a large number of people to work part time. Business operators would travel around, buying raw materials, delivering them to people who would work on them, and then collecting the finished goods to sell, or typically to ship to another market. This was ironically, one of the factors which allowed the Industrial Revolution to spread in Western Europe through the presence of these business people who had the ability to expand the scale of their operations from mass production. Cottage Industries were very common in the time when a large proportion of the population was engaged in agriculture, because the farmers (and their families) often had both the time and the desire to earn additional income during the part of the year (winter) when there was little farming work to do [Wikipedia Putting-out system]. 

Information on Work at Home Parents shows from a historical perspective that it was a common theme throughout cultures and Society’s. As societies changed with Compulsory Education and the various Industrial Revolutions around the 1800’s occurred, Parents working at Home with Children became less an less common. The Work Balance era of the 1980’s started making work from home more popular again. Today issues such as Carbon Taxing, Rising Fuel Costs, Violence in Schools and the Work Place, Terrorism, Disease Plaques, are driving forces behind the idea of working from home for many Parents, attempting  to avoid many of these consequences [Wikipedia Work at Home Parents]. 

The Modern Economy and Technologies are contributing extensively to the Work at Home Trend. Today we use more modern terms such as Freelancers, Outsourcing, Telecommute, Remote, Work at Home, Home Based Business, Green Industry at Home, and many more. Have we really Changed, or do we desire the lost conviviality early Artisans, Farmers, and Shop Keepers, enjoyed with their families at home? A Fellowship, possibly a need, for most of us lost to the ideals of Advanced Productivity Standards, yet ironically revived by the same processes that nearly brought an end to it.

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