Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Best Parts of Working from Home

A while back I promised a deeper dive into working from home--something I'm currently doing everyday. Today we start with the pros of working from home--why it's great, why I love it and why companies should be very happy about providing that option for their employees.

Zero commute

It's nice to get out of the house, but in the Northeast, especially, there's way too many days where a commute entails dealing with the elements (rain, snow, extreme heat, humidity, etc) and delays (train delays, car traffic, buses breaking down, etc) that sometimes it's nice to not have to worry about what it's like outside and how that's going to affect your day. As an employer, that means more time working, and less time commuting. And for the the environment, that means one less person commuting to work.

Save money/time on lunch

Yes, we all could make lunch every day, but running out of the house every morning, making a sandwich or a salad or even grabbing leftovers is sometimes the last thing on the agenda. When you're working from home, you have time to run to the fridge and make a sandwich or prepare a salad or even cook something quickly. Not only is this quicker and cheaper, it is usually a healthier option than grabbing something to go at lunch time. All of this is great for employers who can not only save on subsidizing lunches but also on downtime for employees.

Dress Code: Optional

For a few summers I had an internship at a bank and the worst part about every morning was knowing that I had to put on a long sleeved shirt, dress pants, a tie, and sometimes a jacket when it was 90 degrees outside. Now, when it's 90 degrees outside like it's supposed to be later this week in NYC, I wear shorts. During the winter, when it was cold and I didn't want to get out of my pajamas--well, I didn't. When I go to visit clients I still put on appropriate wear but it saves me a lot of money, time, cleaning costs, and sweat not to have to put on that suit.

Get more done in all aspects of life

I think the number one reason that employers should love their employees working from home is the productivity that increases with it. If they're sick, they can work from home without infecting anyone else. When they have the cable guy coming, they can do work while they wait for him to arrive in his 4 hour window. When the babysitter forgets they have to be a concert that night, they can be home to take their kid back without having to travel all over town. And when they don't have to commute, they can work longer hours and be happier doing so.

There are certainly negatives to working from home--and we'll get into those in another post--but there are a lot of reasons an employee and their employer should love it. This is the start of the outlining of those but hopefully those are enough of a reason even before you get into the money saved from office space or the happiness the employee gets with the flexibility. It also helps when the employer gets over the idea that working from home doesn't mean "not working" and actually can mean "working more efficiently".

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