5 unsung benefits of working from home

photo-217Working from home is an incredibly popular perk. Indeed, sometimes the idea that work can be done from home is so exciting that people don’t think about what the job is, or what it pays. There’s a reason that, unlike many job boards, FlexJobs charges job-seekers, rather than job-posters. There are so many scams out there that screening for real opportunities is a valuable service.

I know that one of the major reasons people want to work from home is that it offers the possibility of a better work-life balance. Often, work-life balance means spending more time with kids. Sometimes, lately, I feel like my WAH situation means I’ve been spending more time than intended with the kiddos. But there are plenty of other unsung benefits I’ve been enjoying:

*I just took a 20 minute nap. The baby was kicking at 4:45 a.m. again, and once I was awake, I started mulling over a list of Things I Found Annoying About the Thomas Piketty Book (did someone read all 577 pages before it was due back at the library? Yes, she did!). So, after 20 minutes, I got up and got to work. When I crashed at 9:30 a.m., my bed was here and there was no one to stop me from using it.

*Speaking of working at 5:10 a.m. — my home office is just down stairs from my bedroom, all set up. So if I do want to work at odd hours, there’s no discontinuity. Everything is there.

*Among the things that are there: My calendar and must-not-lose life management notebook. Over at The SHU Box, Sarah posted a picture of her planner. In the comments, the question came up about where it goes. Does it travel between home and the office? (Perhaps in its own little armored vehicle?) In my case, there really is no other place for the planner to go than my desk.

*There are a lot of other things on my desk. There are also a lot of things on the floor. See photo. This photo doesn’t show the mess of books that’s on the other side of the office. If I worked in some sort of open office layout, or even had an office that other people might drop in to, I might feel embarrassed about the mess. Fortunately, I’m the only person it affects.

*I was reading Modern Mrs. Darcy’s post on stress-baking and I realized I was hungry. So I went and fried myself 2 slices of bacon. I’m not saying you wouldn’t do this in a regular office with a kitchenette, but you might wonder if people thought you were weird.

If you ever work from home, what do you like about it?

18 thoughts on “5 unsung benefits of working from home

  1. I agree naps in your own bed are the best about working from home. I also like just being able to start work right away, not having to drive anywhere and I do enjoy spending some additional time, like having lunch with, my girls.

    1. @Alissa – I have noticed that on the days I need to go somewhere, I often feel like I’ve done something just by traveling. It takes energy. But I haven’t really done that much. Being able to get to work and just start helps me feel more productive.

      1. This was a real issue when I was in later pregnancy—hauling myself to work (especially in the heat) took so much out of me that I needed to recover for a bit (this involved cooling off by stepping into the lab’s cold room). When I just had to sit down and open up my laptop, I could start right away.

  2. I don’t think of it as a question of “balance” but I’m more productive because WAH allows me to do domestic tasks that need to be done when I’m in a slump from working at the desk. If I need a break when I’m on campus, my options are more limited.

  3. Laundry. We would never have clean clothes. But on my work from home days I can muse and noodle an idea while walking to the basement and switching the loads. Less actual time spent then chating at the water cooler or waiting for the 1 person ladies room at the office…

    Also lunch… Can’t cook rice at the office.

    1. @Devon_buffalo – totally with you on the cooking lunch upside. No need to pack, and you can have something hot and fresh. I’m interested to hear on the laundry bit. I try not to do too much housework during scheduled work hours, just because it seems like it could quickly consume most of my time if I get in the habit. Then again, I did just go to the grocery store and to get gas in my car because I assumed both would be less busy now (10 a.m.) vs. after work.

      1. Well…I don’t actually fold the laundry. But it only takes a few minutes to grab a Landry basket from a kids room and stick it into the washer, etc. and repeat every hour or two. then we have a big heap of clean clothes at the end of the day to put away. Even if I get thru 4 loads that get the three of us and the towels.

        1. Oh! Do you still outsource the laundry like you did in NYC?. I just remembered that section in 168 Hours. It seemed so luxurious the first time I read it. Lol.

  4. After working from home for the last 5 months, I’m not sure I can go back to a real office job 😉

    I love being able to wear my workout clothes to work, which makes me more likely to actually complete my workout.

    I love throwing in a load of laundry in between calls.

    It’s nice to have the entire fridge and the healthy stuff I buy around for snacks rather than being at the mercy of the work cafe or vending machines.

    +1 to work being “right there”. If I have to do something at 10pm, everything I need is already set up.

      1. Hah, good point. My workout clothes aren’t that revealing so it would probably just look like a dark T-shirt with the bad camera on my laptop 😉 We don’t do a ton of video calls, surprisingly.

  5. Another perk – you can live in a cheaper area if you don’t have to commute. A colleague of mine lives a 4 hour drive from the office (in a country area). The property prices where he lives are at least 2/3 cheaper than houses surrounding the office.

    1. @Clare – true on the property prices bit. Or if you have two spouses whose industries are centered in different cities, working from home (mostly) can solve that problem.

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