Being home with your kids isn’t the only good thing about working at home. It’s certainly a benefit when you’re a parent… provided you can actually work with the kids around, which is not always easy or smart. But there are a lot of other perks of working at home that you may not have considered as much.
1. No Commute
Losing the drive to work is wonderful. There are some work at home jobs out there where you may have to drive to the office sometimes or to see a client, but for the most part, you don’t have to drive anywhere to get to work. Potentially, that’s a huge time savings.
You’ll also use less gas. This is a personal favorite, especially whenever gas prices start climbing. So long as you don’t take the excuses to drive all around town, working at home uses a lot less gas for most people… unless you have to meet with clients a lot away from your home.
2. More Time
Cutting that commute means you have more time. The average U.S. travel time to work is 24.5 minutes. I assume the drive home is similar. That’s close to an hour a day of driving. Working at home gives you that time back, to use as you wish.
For what depends on you. You might work more, or you might have more family time. Some use it to volunteer at their children’s schools or elsewhere. It could be more time for a hobby or to improve your skills by taking a class.
3. Your Day Can Be More Productive
Most people are more productive when they work at home, distractions or no. Meetings can be held with online tools such as Slack, which also makes it easy to share documents.
If you need to chat with a coworker about something, you can. The online tools for this have really improved in recent years. Companies that have a lot of remote employees are pretty good at handling communication between employees now, which is a huge boost for productivity.
4. Your Home Office, Your Style
This is one of my favorite perks of working at home. You can set up your home office to suit you. You want a standing desk, it’s up to you to make that happen. Office plants and other decor are up to you. Your home office can be a guest room, as mine is.
Odds are that you won’t want to spend a lot on your home office, at least not at first. But you will have the freedom to pick out the desk and chair that fit your needs and budget, and upgrade when the time comes.
Not everything will be up to you in some work at home jobs, of course. You can’t work at the coffee shop if you’re required to have a wired internet connection or a silent work area. You probably won’t even be able to work outside your regular workspace. But you will be able to set that space up to suit you, rather than by a set of corporate rules.
Some companies will give you a stipend to set up your home office. This may be mostly for the technology you need to do your job right – a good computer and monitor, for example. Some will provide enough that you can also get a good desk and chair. Others will expect you to provide your own equipment.
You have full control of the thermostat when you work at home. Get that programmable thermostat or a smart thermostat to make it easy to keep your home at the right temperature while you work. My husband’s biggest complaint about his job is that he is exactly under the blower at work. Even on the hottest days of the summer, he brings a jacket to work because it gets so cold at his desk. I don’t have to worry about that at home because I have full control over the temperature of the house.
You aren’t even restricted to working in your home office with many work at home jobs. If you want to head outside because it’s a beautiful day, you might just be able to do that. There are lots of places you can work at home if you aren’t required to have a quiet or wired setup.
5. A More Flexible Work Day
Most work at home jobs give you more flexibility to get things done. That makes it easier to run quick errands or get the kids from school if you need to. That’s especially handy if one of the kids gets sick at school. With a regular outside the home job, you’d be done for the day. With a work at home job, you can get the kid and then decide if you can keep working.
Some require a schedule and strict adherence, but even then you can usually pick a schedule that suits you. If you work best in the early morning, you set up your schedule so that you start in the early morning. If you’re a night owl, many jobs will let you do much of your work then. So long as you can sign in for online meetings, you’re probably fine.
Better yet, you can have a lot more fun on your breaks during the workday. You don’t have to worry about disturbing your coworkers if you want to crank up the music during a break. You might embarrass any kids who are at home if you sing along, but you won’t bother your coworkers.
You’ll even have more time to work out if you want. You can get to the gym in the middle of the day when it’s relatively quiet, rather than fighting the crowds. Some people find that getting a workout in also helps them come up with ideas. Taking that break can greatly improve your productivity.
6. No Distracting Coworkers
You won’t have any coworkers stopping by your desk to chat when you work at home. You can set your status in your work chat group to “do not disturb” when you really need to focus. It’s much easier to control when you socialize with coworkers.
On the other hand, there are other distractions, just waiting for you to give in. And they’re always there. If you don’t learn how to ignore the television and the housework you may have difficulty being sufficiently productive at home.
You will need to teach friends and family that they aren’t allowed to distract you. A spouse or child swinging by your home office to chat can be even more disruptive than a coworker if they don’t take the hint to let you work.
Don’t even get me started on my cats. Given a chance, they’re wonderful distractions. But they also make me feel good, so I’m pretty sure that balances out.
7. No Sharing Germs With Coworkers – One Of The Best Perks Of Working At Home
This is one of my favorite perks of working at home during cold and flu season. I can almost guarantee that I’m not the one bringing the latest virus home. I might get sick due to my husband or kids bringing something home, but that’s it.
You can even decide to work when you’re only mildly ill without having to take your coworkers into consideration. It’s so nice when you can save your sick days for the days you really need them without feeling as though you’re spreading illness to your coworkers.
The ability to work at your own speed when you’re not feeling 100% well is a huge help. It’s easier to take an extra break in many remote jobs. If your schedule isn’t flexible you may still be stuck, but for many jobs, you can take it a little easy when you’re sick.
Just try not to think about how much worse that sick kid at home with you can be. They’re usually far worse than a contagious coworker. On the other hand, you’d have to deal with that sick kid even if you worked outside the home. You might even have to take a day off work to deal with them, while a work at home mom or dad might still be able to work.
8. Eating Healthy Is Easier
This one is all up to you, but it can be much easier to eat healthy when you work at home. There’s less excuse to grab lunch out, and what’s in the fridge is under your control.
One of the best ways to take advantage of this perk of working at home is to prepare things in advance. Don’t have a lot of chips, soda or candy in the house – it’s too easy to snack on them if they’re in the house. Instead, prepare healthier snacks for yourself. Chop up any vegetables you like for a super fast and easy snack. I’ve also developed a taste for frozen yogurt bark, which is very easy to make.
Have healthy lunch fixings available too. I pack up leftovers from dinner and put them in the fridge or freezer for easy lunches. They’re a good alternative to sandwiches. If you freeze them you don’t get so bored from always having leftovers from the night before as your lunch.
Keep a good supply of coffee around if that’s your habit so that you don’t get the urge to run out to a local coffee shop. Not only will that mess with your productivity, it adds up fast.
9. Wear What You Want
Many people love the ability to dress as they please when they work at home. It’s one of the most popular perks of working at home. Some prefer to dress just as they would if they were going to the office. They say it gets them into the right frame of mind to work. Others do just fine dressing casually or yes, working in their pajamas. You choose the clothing that makes being productive easier for you, rather than having to abide by the company dress code.
Of course, if you’re meeting someone face to face or by webcam, dress appropriately. What this means depends on your job, but rarely includes pajamas.
10. Environmentally Friendly.
Working at home can be very environmentally friendly. Sure, you’ll use more electricity around your house, but you also use less gas, which tilts the environmental considerations in your favor when you work at home.
Your home office can be as efficient as you care to make it. You can use LED lights. You can have plants in your office if you want. If you have space in your budget, you can even consider solar panels for your home.
Having people work at home also means companies can use smaller buildings. Odds are that you aren’t buying a bigger home just so that you can work from there. An employer, on the other hand, has to provide space to all employees who come to the office.
Some will debate the environmental impact of working at home – you still need all the equipment, and heating or cooling individual homes is less efficient than heating an office building. Overall, most say the environmental impact of working at home is less than that of commuting to an office.
Are There More Perks Of Working At Home?
What are your favorite perks of working at home? Have I missed anything great?