Working from Home Benefits - What Are the Real Pros and Cons?
One of the many working from home benefits that may be the most convincing is that it can save you money. You will save money on gasoline, automotive maintenance and perhaps even auto insurance. No longer will you have to own a well-stocked business wardrobe that is not only expensive to purchase and augment but also maintain. Consider how much you currently spend on dry cleaning each month.
There are many other ways in which working from home benefits your budget. You can drink coffee and eat lunch straight from your kitchen. If you spend upwards of ten dollars a day on drive-thru coffee and fast food lunches, the amount you can save will add up quickly.
In addition to the upfront savings you will realize, you can also save annually on your income taxes. Home office expenses are usually tax deductible.
If you work for an employer, your working from home benefits him financially as well. People who work from home are typically less stressed and anxious. They also avoid the bugs that are so quickly passed around the common workplace. This means that not only will you need less medical care, but you will also require fewer sick days.
Your boss will not need to pay for a workstation, utilities or other supplies for you, either, unless this is part of your work agreement.
Another way working from home benefits you is that your schedule is much more flexible. If you have children and need to drive them to appointments or simply want to be available when they come home from school, working from home makes this possible. You can also get work done early in the morning before the rest of your family gets up, take a break and get everyone ready and out the door, and then return to your work. Of course, this does require a bit of balancing. Take a look at our Work at Home Parent Survival Guide for some strategies that may help.
When your plumbing backs up, cable goes out or you experience any other type of home repair emergency, you will not have to miss work in order to be available to the repair person. You are not necessarily locked into the Monday through Friday workweek, either. If you have appointments on Tuesday or want to take a class on Wednesdays you can simply make up the work on the weekends.
If your family or friends are traveling and you want to join them, you can, even if you are working on a project. As long as you have a laptop and Internet access, you will have the flexibility to work from almost anywhere.
Unless you plan on having small children home with you while you are trying to do your job, working from home benefits your level of productivity. No longer will you endure those frequent interruptions by coworkers or phone calls that cause you to lose your train of thought. When you work from home, you can turn your ringer off, complete the project you are working on and then check your messages when you are ready.
People are more productive when they work with their individual body clocks, as well. A study by the University of Alberta in Canada showed that people who prefer to be up at the crack of dawn tend to have consistent strength during the day, while “night owls” peak later in day. By working from home, you can work during the times of day when you are at your best, which benefits you and your employer.
As with any major consideration, it is wise to weigh the negative aspects against the benefits of working from home. You may miss the interaction an office atmosphere provides, and you might lack the self-discipline that working from home requires. It is a personal decision and one that should not be taken lightly. For more thoughts to consider, read Environmental and Cost Benefits of Telecommuting to Work.