While the corporate rat race is the backbone of American industry, it certainly has its dark side that takes its toll on workers. Between commutes, less-than-ideal office conditions, time-wasting inefficiencies and other variables, many people just don’t want to deal with the typical 9-to-5 routine. Twenty, or even ten years ago, there wouldn’t have been many options for people who felt this way. But now, tele- and e-commuting provide opportunities for independent work that would seem like a fantasy for past generations. Here are some of the great benefits you might be able to enjoy by working from home.
Saving Money on Gasoline (And Saving the Environment from It!)
Let’s talk about the drive to work. Does anyone like it? What is there to like? Whether you must face a congested 90-minute cross-town commute or a ten-minute ride down the hill, it just means more time away from your family, more time stuck in your car, and more time you can’t get back. Time isn’t the only concern; if you’re stuck in stop-and-go traffic for hours a day, five days a week, you’re losing money by burning fuel. Gas is expensive, and wear and tear on a vehicle is a hard cost that wears down your car’s efficiency over time. That wear and also hurts its resale value.
But what if you have a company car, or an allowance that covers gas and depreciation? Here’s where we need to start talking about the environmental concerns associated with constant driving. The burning of fossil fuels is depleting the Earth’s ozone layer, and the environmental fallout takes its form with smog and contributes to climate change. The bottom line is that cutting down on traffic will help the ecology.
Time and Efficiency
Beyond the physical hassles of the drive into work, consider the other advantages and efficiencies that an employee could achieve by working out of a home office. Most people who work from home maintain that it’s important to establish a routine that differentiates their time on-the-clock and their time at home. This typically includes having a dedicated office space reserved for work, and a morning ritual of some kind. The notion of an employee who rolls out of bed, logs on, and works in their pajamas all day is amusing, but unrealistic. That said, after their morning ritual and routine is complete, this is a worker who will hit the ground running, probably quite a bit more than an average commuter, who may log in, grab some coffee, make the rounds and small talk with coworkers. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but from and efficiency standpoint, the benefits are clear.
There’s also an opportunity for ecological benefit. The person who works from home is generally a person who is obsessed with streamlining processes. They may find themselves looking to save money and energy on their home utilities, because after all, spending more time at home working will surely lead to an increase in both energy used and energy cost. There is a solution. An individual that works from home has certainly considered various forms of alternative energy. Many worry about the cost because they do not know how solar energy works, and worry it will cost them more in the long run. There are many advantages to outfitting a home with solar panels, including saving money, which adds to their personal bottom lines, and the possibility of significant tax credit. Solar panels harvest the natural power of the sun, convert it into energy, and disperse it throughout your home. It’s a clean, efficient source of energy. This is great news for anyone working from home. Save money on utilities and use clean energy to power up your home office.
Emotional and Psychological Benefits
Savings and efficiency are all well and good, but let’s take a moment to consider perhaps the ultimate benefit of working from home: the reduction of stress and improvement of psychological health. We’ve talked about the inefficiency and inconvenience of commuting. But consider the stress factor involved. People with less stress have lower blood pressure, leading to a lower likelihood of heart attacks, strokes, or heart disease. Office environments with vending machines often lead to incessant snacking on salty or sugary snacks, which in turn can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a spade of other health issues. By being in control of your environment, you can control your diet and activity level in ways that you normally could not in an office.
Working from home isn’t for everyone, but neither is getting up early, taking a long drive, dealing with tedious office politics, driving home, and repeating the process day after day. Consider the psychological and ecological benefits of working from home!