The ability to work from home is one of the marvels of the modern age.
When an employer is willing, it’s possible to work from almost any location. The daily 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, 4.7 million employees work from home at least half the time. That’s 3.4% of the workforce.
The following are some signs that it’s time to leave the traditional workplace and begin working from home.
1. You’re distracted by the workplace
Most people are able to tune out the ambient noise of the workplace. But some sensitive people find working shoulder-to-shoulder or even cubicle-to-cubicle distracting. They prefer to be alone to concentrate on 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 takes 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 the thousands of dollars 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 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.
5. You’re a caregiver
If you have elderly parents at home or a spouse who is ill, you probably worry about them while you’re at work each day. On busy days, you might not have time to call to check on them.
That problem will be solved if you work at home and can schedule your own breaks.
Reynolds notes that many people are faced with the task of caring for both children and elderly parents. A flexible working schedule makes juggling such tasks easier.
6. You crave more exercise
Perhaps your breaks just aren’t long enough, or you otherwise struggle to squeeze workouts into your schedule.
If you work from home, you won’t have to carry workout clothes to your job each day. You could even wear them to work. This and having greater control over your work schedule will make it easier to fit in exercise.
7. You have pets
It can be difficult to make sure pets have proper care while you’re at work.
It’s time-consuming to drop them off at animal day care centers before work and pick them up after. And pet sitters who come to your home can be expensive.
Pets aren’t happy when they spend eight to 10 hours alone each day, either.
You can solve these problems by working at home. Both you and your pets will benefit.
Lister says research has shown that having pets present when you work has a calming effect.
“It goes to the issue of stress,” she says.
8. You dislike the work environment
People who telecommute often are looking for more comfortable and relaxed places to do their jobs, Reynolds says.
There are no rules for what constitutes a home office. You’ll be free to experiment and create an environment that enables you to be most productive.
9. You loathe work attire — or want to slash the expense
Some people hate conforming to workplace dress codes, says Lister. They prefer to wear casual clothing when they work.
When you’re at home, you can decide what to wear. Get cozy in a robe and slippers, and no one will be the wiser. Just be sure to look presentable for any virtual meetings online.
Another benefit is not having to spend money on a workplace wardrobe, which could save you hundreds of dollars a year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spent $1,866 on clothing and related services in 2018.
What do you consider the best reason to work from home? Share with us by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.
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