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When an employer is willing, it’s possible for you to work from almost any location. Your schedule becomes yours to manage, with no one looking over your shoulder.
Not everyone has the discipline to work without supervision. But if you do, working at home can give you much greater control over your life — not to mention reduce your expenses and stress.
According to an analysis of U.S. Census data by Global Workplace Analytics, a consulting firm that specializes in flexible workplace strategies, 4.3 million employees work from home at least half the time. That’s 3.2 percent of the workforce.
What follows are nine ways to tell that it’s time to leave the traditional workplace and begin working from home.
1. You’re distracted by your workplace
Most people are able to tune out the ambient noise of the workplace. Unfortunately, there are many sensitive people who find working shoulder-to-shoulder or even cubicle-to-cubicle distracting. They prefer to be alone to concentrate on their tasks. For these people, working at home can be ideal.
“When we ask people why they want to work at home, the No. 1 thing is fewer distractions,” says Brie Reynolds, a senior career specialist and coach at FlexJobs. “They turn to remote work.”
Specialized job websites like FlexJobs make it easier to find the right work-from-home job for you. FlexJobs is a subscription service that collects and vets openings for legitimate remote jobs and other types of flexible jobs.
2. Your commute costs you too much time, stress or money
The average drive to work in America is 26.9 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
People who work at home gain back the time they otherwise would spend driving — while also avoiding the stress of dealing with traffic.
Another benefit is that people who work from home save money on car maintenance, gasoline and sometimes insurance. Some might even be able to get rid of one car — avoiding all of the $8,849 per year that it costs to own and operate the average new car.
3. Your work hours are stifling your productivity or home life
If you’re not a 9-to-5 person, working in a traditional job might seem confining. When you work at home, you generally have more control over your scheduling.
Perhaps you want to work different hours because you have a spouse who works odd hours. Or, maybe you do your best work after 5 p.m. or in staggered shifts, springing into action whenever inspiration strikes.
“For maximum productivity, you ought to let people work when they work best,” says Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics.
4. You want to travel more
People who telecommute often take their work with them when they travel, says Reynolds. These people sometimes are called “digital nomads.”
They manage to combine frequent vacationing with holding down steady jobs. Some use recreational vehicles to stay on the move.
“They enjoy exploring new destinations and not having to give up their job in order to do that,” Reynolds says.