Working from home is more common than ever before, thanks to continuous advances in internet technology. For some, it seems like the perfect arrangement – work from home, sleep in a bit, no commute…however, telecommuting isn’t always a perfect option. This is especially true in fields where face-to-face interaction is a key part of your job. There are several arguments to be made both for and against telecommuting, and we cover both in separate articles. After reading this analysis regarding the positives of remote working, be sure to read this article in order to see the other side of that equation.
Commuting to work can be a real pain. Who wouldn’t want to do their job while sitting in the comfort of their own home, still in their pajamas, drinking a hot cup of coffee? This (admittedly idealized) circumstance is quite attractive for a lot of people who have to deal with long commutes. For others, being surrounded by lots of people all day can be exhausting – working from home allows them to function to full capacity without the added stress of frequent human interactions.
Not all jobs can be performed at home, but that option is becoming increasingly available for many white-collar professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 24% of American workers telecommute at least part of the time, up from 19% in 2006 and just 2.3% in 1980. Given the increasing popularity of remote work, it’s worth taking a balanced look at what this work arrangement offers people.
Telecommuting offers people a number of advantages over working in a traditional office environment. These following reasons may prove to be compelling enough to convince you to make the switch.
1) You save on time and money
The commute to work is the ultimate necessary evil: few people enjoy it, but for most people it is unavoidable if you want to have a job. For some, living in the suburbs requires you to endure rush-hour traffic to and from work. For people living in rural areas, you may have no choice but to drive long distances to your work site. Still others rely on public transportation to get to where they need to go. In each of these cases, you must sacrifice your time and money to get to your place of employment. Gas isn’t cheap when you’re driving fifty miles a day, or fares when you’re taking the subway five days a week.
Working from home cuts that unpleasant part of your day out entirely. If your daily commute eats up two hours of your day, you now gain that back working at home. Whether that translates to a higher degree of productivity or simply more time to get mundane chores and errands done, that extra time really adds up. This is to say nothing of the mental health benefits you get by not having to sit through rush-hour traffic on a daily basis.
2) You enjoy increased flexibility
Naturally, you’ll still be regulated in how you go about your day to work. But away from the ever-vigilant eye of your boss, you will have more freedom in how you structure your day and go about doing what needs to be done. This arrangement works very well for more independent-minded workers who desire a greater level of autonomy in the workplace. It also trickles down into smaller mundane details; if you want to grab a snack, do it. Need to use the restroom? You can enjoy the privacy of your own personal sanctum. Telecommuting doesn’t absolve you of your day-to-day responsibilities, but it does let you go about accomplishing them in a different way.
3) It makes sense from a financial and environmental perspective
This ties in somewhat into the first point. Not driving to work means that you don’t have to waste gas and time trying to get to where you need to go. This saves your car undue wear and tear, and it also reduces the environmental impact of your car being on the road. Your company will also reap the benefits of telecommuting: it takes less power and fewer resources to keep things running smoothly in the office, and the increased productivity and happiness that results from working at home helps translate to higher profit margins and reduced turnover.
These are all excellent reasons to work remotely, but don’t let this article fool you into thinking that it’s all positives. The counterpart to this piece will inform you of the downsides of telecommuting, in the hopes that you’ll be able to make an informed decision that works best for you.