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.
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.
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.
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!