Unexpected Advantages of Working From Home

Post by Sharon

I've worked from home for 25 years and I have excellent experience at knowing over time what changes in your life. The majority of it is fantastic and there are only a few rough spots. I will cover both including the unexpected advantages.

I will bold all the unexpected benefits. 
Once you get past the desire to be distracted checking the mail, cleaning the dishes, or perusing the refrigerator for a snack, you begin to pace yourself. 

Without interruptions from co-workers, you find yourself plowing through workload easily. 

Eventually, you start playing some music, perhaps running a scent diffuser, offering your lap for your cat, and making expert coffee. For every coffee you make yourself, you save many dollars and many calories as Starbucks grande coffee is around 200 calories a cup

Your wardrobe changes dramatically. In fact, the ideal clothing is found at the local thrift store where they are soft, comfy, and more athletic-focused than business formal. Your lack of desire to buy new clothes, shoes, purses, briefcases and the like for work day clothing helps to build up more $ in your bank account. 

Without a commute, you not only don't drive much anymore, but your work days are greatly shortened by not having to commute. Many car insurance policies allow for those who work from home to get lowered rates. Since you don't have to commute, you can get up later and end work and immediately begin to make supper. 

Home security is another great benefit to working from home. With your presence there monitoring the situation and able to pull packages off the front porch, as well as being there for your pets' companionship, and lessening daycare so your kids can come straight home from school, there are some surprising benefits to this virtual office lifestyle.

Some might complain that they got the Freshman 15 weight on after starting work at home, but be patient. You will find that not eating out is going to help you think more about groceries and prep for lunch and then gives you time to make a supper instead of ordering. Eating more foods from home and being able to exercise during lunch break if you want without worrying about having to make shower and business clothes changing time, really is good. You can even get exercise simply vacuuming and cleaning floors and the like when you are on breaks. Not having to do those chores before or after work or on the weekend is a huge relief. I used to have to stop typing for 10 mins at a time every two hours. I would use that time to wash dishes by hand or vacuum the floor. Another thing to keep in mind is that your chance of getting the stomach flu, head colds and the flu are so tremendously lowered you may not have another one for years!  

If you want to succeed at this and also to show your boss that you are better off at home, you need to learn to set some serious boundaries.

1.  Designated work space. Even if you are using a corner of a one-bedroom apartment, face the desk so that when you sit at your computer you don't look at a wall, but look across the room. This keeps your screen private but also allows you to not get restless. For your vision, you need to periodically look away from up-close screen and into the distance or your vision takes a toll.

2.  Develop rituals. Morning coffee set on desk, background music (YouTube has some fantastic office music offerings and they do make you feel like you are in a work space but also help to make you more efficient than a noisy TV or traffic sounds outside). 

3.  Have a spiral notebook nearby - keep notes in it. I know some folks like to keep that info digital, but it is out tendency to take notes or use post-its. I usually put a big title on each page so I recall one is CLIENTS and another page is OPEN PROJECTS or whatever. Then, I can flip through and find notes without living in a space that has a million post-its.

4.  Close door or cover computer when off hours. When work is over, close the door or toss a sheet over the desk. No kidding. It's real tempting when bored to just work. Keep boundaries. 

5.  Let family and friends know you actually WORK. I can't tell you how many times people wanted to talk and tell me their problems during work hours, or interrupted, wanted to come over, and even one who worked in an office and wanted me on the cell phone for a virtual lunch date to keep her company while she ate. They will ask you to run chores, assuming you're flexible. Just because you are at home doesn't mean you can come and go. You are in an work environment. Let people leave messages, don't set up "lunch dates" as you are likely to get your ear talked off, don't volunteer to pick up things, run chores, or hover around the plumber when he's over. 

6. With no work partners day to day, it's important to have key friendships so that you can feel less isolated. The first few years into working from home, everyone I ever worked with went on to other places and communications dropped off and with me at home, no new friends were replacing the empty spots on my buddy bench. Neighborhood pages on Facebook or NextDoor.com can allow you to develop new walking buddies or find out about groups that enjoy photography and the like in your area. 

After working from home, I don't think I could ever go to an office again. I don't miss the traffic. I don't miss the noise. I don't miss the tons and tons of distractions and impromptu meetings. I don't miss the drama among co-workers. 

There are always trade-offs with changes in your life, but the pro's versus con's for working from home make it the most appealing of changes!