Why Work At Home? Compelling Reasons For Staying Home To Work

by Stacey Doyle on October 6, 2008

Before worrying about how to work from home, find out why it’s such a good idea.

What’s so great about having to work at home? After all, wouldn’t you want to get out of the house and have a life away from the family once in a while? It’s a wonderful thing, after all, to have a social network at work and to get face time with colleagues and superiors as you nurture your career. That may be the case, but there are some really great advantages to conducting your business in your own residence and many compelling reasons for staying home to work.

work at home, work from home
Photo by scslade

 
Let’s consider a few of them:

The Financial Costs Of Working Outside The Home

In today’s economic climate, our budgets have just gotten much tighter and it’s clear that working somewhere else can get expensive. Consider all the expenses and the daily costs of working in another location if you do any type of general office work:

Apparel for the job.

When you work at home, nobody knows you are taking a conference call in your pajamas. Let me just state the obvious that when you work in the office, you’ll need to look the part and be ready for business; professional attire such as suits and career outfits can get quite expensive. Add the matching accessories, shoes, hosiery or even cosmetics, and it may cost you at least $70 weekly to remain properly dressed for business outside the home versus the $15 weekly for stay-at-home comfortable clothing. Money saved working at home: $55 a week. Your mileage here may vary depending on your shopping habits and where you live, but the cost comparisons between office and work spending would still be relevant.

Getting lunch at work.

Let’s face it, we all have good intentions of brown bagging our lunch. We may even take our lunch to work three or four days every week. If you do, it costs money to package your lunch, buy thermal lunch bags and get beverage to-go cups. Inevitably you will go out to lunch at least once a week because everyone else does. It’s been my experience to consider the low-end of taking and buying lunch at work to be around $40 weekly. When I stay home, I can make a quick sandwich or bowl of cereal, totaling about $10 weekly. Money saved working at home: $30 a week.

Transportation costs.

If you work in the city and need to take trains, subways and cabs to get to work, transportation costs can get unpredictable and pricey. If you have your own car, you have to deal with the rising cost of gas as well as the cost of insurance, registration and car maintenance. Whether you drive or take public transportation, a conservative estimate of such weekly costs is $75. When you work at home, there are no transportation costs. Money saved working at home: $75 a week.

Child care.

Even though you work at home, you may still need child care to get your job done. Depending on your responsibilities, child care costs can be eliminated or minimized. Consider that the weekly cost of full-time child care for one child is about $180. If you only require part-time child care, the cost may be trimmed to $100, or even half of the full-time costs. Money saved working at home: $80 a week.


Now if we total these weekly savings up, we get approximately $1,000 a month of savings. That’s $12,000 a year, for the privilege of conducting our business at home! Technically speaking, you could decide to take a $12,000 to $15,000 pay cut (taking taxes into account) relative to your current salary and you’d still come out even if you stopped working at a formal office.

Here are a couple of real examples of “work at home” parents, discussing their money savings:

The Personal Cost of Working Outside The Home

Missing major moments with your children.

As a working parent who is away from home for anywhere from eight to twelve hours a day or more, you miss major moments with your child. From their first word to their first step, you might wind up at work when your children have these experiences. When you work at home, you have the flexibility to step away from your desk to be part of those “moments”.

Feeling divided between work and home responsibilities.

When you work outside the home, you live in two different worlds. Sometimes you feel like you’re not giving enough to your job or your family. Having your own business gives you greater control of how you work and when you work.

Stress from extraneous activities and time loss (or inefficiencies).

Waking up early, getting dressed up, commuting for hours and working full-time while juggling family responsibilities before and after your job can get overwhelming. When you have deadlines at your job, or when you’ve got to worry about daycare arrangements and family events, stress builds and overload occurs — perhaps not right away, but eventually. When you work at home, you can freely take breaks as and when needed, and you’ll have a better grasp of your time. You also don’t have to spend the extra time and energy on getting dressed up and commuting to and from work.

Preaching To The Choir?

Given all these great reasons to work from home, the question here may just be: who wouldn’t want to work at home? Usually, the older we get and the longer we are in the work force, the more enticing the idea of working from home actually becomes. If you’ve got a career you’re building and you’re required to work at the office, it may be worth finding out if your boss will allow you to telecommute on occasion and increase your hours of working in your own residence — if only to reduce your associated work costs (such as commute, travel or lunch expenditures).

Unfortunately, in many cases, we’ve got no choice in the matter. Many businesses believe in the fallacy that their employees will suffer a decrease in productivity once they begin working from home, but this is not necessarily true and many times, it’s actually the opposite. Productivity can actually increase once people work from home just as long as they properly and adequately prepare for this eventuality.

Perhaps the key here is to find places of work that will keep open-minded about the “work-at-home” option or that will be supportive of such measures. If you’re already a business owner, then the only one you’ll need to convince about this set up is yourself… and possibly your own family!

If you enjoyed this post, you can get free regular updates through our RSS Feed, or you can have our latest posts delivered to your email inbox by supplying your address here. Your address will only be used for this purpose, and you can unsubscribe anytime.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike November 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Perhaps its because I was already pretty frugal, but I didn’t see a huge drop in expenses when I started telecommuting full time. I had a pretty small clothing budget to begin with and though I have a high-tech job, I never really had separate work/personal wardrobes. I also used to brown bag it most days, so I didn’t save much on lunch either. One significant savings has been on gas and commute time, but even they wouldn’t justify a pay cut for the privilege of working from home. The biggest advantage for me is I’m much more efficient at my job, since all of the daily distractions and office politics are largely non-existent.

2 SVB November 12, 2008 at 9:32 pm

You’re so lucky to be able to telecommute full-time! I had a colleague who managed to work out an arrangement with my former employer that involved full-time telecommuting. He lives in Arizona, they are based in California. Now why can’t they extend that same privilege to all their local employees? Hmmmm? We were all pretty much doing the same type of job anyway! But no, local employees have to commute several hours a day to be at their desks daily!

So when I could take the commute no longer, I quit.

3 Katherine July 18, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I never actually thought of it this way. I’ve been freelancing for several years now and I love it. Because of it, my husband and I share a car which really does cut down on the expenses considerably!

4 Helene July 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Thanks for contributing this excellent article to The Work at Home Family Carnival. I never could have homeschooled my daughter from 7th through 12th grade if I had worked outside of the home. My husband has to work outside the home and the cost of taking the Long Island Railroad plus the subway once he gets to the city really diminishes how much he takes home each week.

5 Nicolas October 19, 2009 at 4:08 am

Very inspirational article (and particularly for those who are not yet sure to do the big jump and set up their home office!). Prior to launching my blog I worked as a Senior account executive for a big IT Public Relations agency in Paris and was in a similar situation.

My passion with being a mobile worker/digital nomad developed at that time as I became very aware of the cool technologies we had at our reach to work remotely and as I also needed to adapt my working environment and habits to my personal needs (business was in France, family in Austria). The big advantage I had vs any other company, is that my former PR company mainly operates in the IT sector. So my manager in France and HR in the UK knew that this nomad life could be possible if using the right tools (laptop, wifi, VoIP softs, security software, remote access to servers, push mail on mobile device, etc). After a short test period, I then became the first regular mobile worker of my company (25 offices WW, 500 consultants), and regularly testify on my blog on how GREAT this life of being a mobile worker is! I’m glad to be part of this very special community :)

6 Basci August 31, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Wow this is an awesome tip! I’m off to do some digging through my webmaster tools and analytics right now.

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }