Top 10 Reasons I Love Telecommuting

May 15, 2013

My company has recently “virtualized” my office which means that most employees are now required to be full-time telecommuters working out of home offices. Since I work for a global company with a dispersed workforce, even when I was in the office I didn’t see most of my colleagues face-to-face. I was able to conduct my work through conference calls and tools like Kona so my physical location was not relevant.

If you or your company is considering full or part-time telecommuting, there are many things to think about:

  • Will telecommuting work for my company and Me? Check out this website for incredible statistics on telecommuting. The most striking information is near the end in regards to bottom line impact where it states:

    If those with compatible jobs and a desire to work from did so just have the time (roughly the national average for those who do so regularly) the national savings would total over $700 Billion a year including: A typical business would save $11,000 per person per year[, t]he telecommuters would save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year[, t]he oil savings would equate to over 37% of our Persian Gulf imports[, and t]he greenhouse gas reduction would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road.

  • Does your personality lend itself to telecommuting? The people who are most successful working from home full-time are introverts who do not energize themselves by being around other people.

  • Will your home office environment allow you to be productive? This often requires a separate office location within the home that can be somewhat isolated from the rest of the home activity. This also means that the other people that share your home are supportive of telecommuting and will respect the office hours you established.

  • Do you have the tools you need to do your job? You may need to invest in equipment – such as a fax machine, scanner, printer, high-speed internet access, and/or a dedicated phone line with long distance calling. Your job may also require other tools that would need to be readily accessible to keep you productive.

  • Are you able to stay in regular contact with co-workers/vendors/customers/etc? It can be difficult for the people you work with to understand what you are doing all day without seeing you physically in the office. It is important to take steps to keep your network updated such as scheduling regular calls or lunch meetings or updating your Kona spaces regularly.

I have experienced full-time office work, a hybrid of some days at home and some days in the office, and now full-time telecommuting, and I have to say, “I love telecommuting!” Here are my top reasons why:

  1. Save money on gas and wardrobe This belongs at the top because it is the most obvious benefit and a clear return on investment. If I’m not driving to work every day, then my car is not burning gas or getting wear and tear that will require maintenance.Since I’m not dressing up in my business attire for daily work, then I can comfortably work from home in my regular clothes. This means that I do not need to pay to update my wardrobe with more expensive work clothes.

  2. Sit outside during nice weather (or opening windows) Spring time is arriving late to Boston but nonetheless I’m enjoying the benefits of my home office when I can sit outside on my deck with my laptop. When I really need my full home office setup with dual monitors and such, I can open the windows or the screen door and still get a nice warm breeze and hear the birds. I feel more energized by spending a little bit of time outdoors each day and I’m loving having the sunshine.

  3. Extra time not spent commuting My commute wasn’t awful but it still required me to get ready every morning, eat breakfast, and then drive in to the office. All that time can now be spent in whatever way works best for me. Some mornings I start work early, sometimes I get a morning workout in, other times I sleep in or enjoy a leisurely breakfast and coffee.

  4. No bad food tempting me One of the biggest temptations of working in the office was the vending machines, the Dunkin Donuts and cafeteria, and even the home baked goods well-meaning coworkers brought in. Now that I’m home full-time, I have to make a real effort to get these goodies by leaving my house and driving somewhere.

  5. Higher productivity due to less distractions I worked in a collaborative office designed to facilitate networking and communication. This meant that I would see my coworkers constantly throughout the day. People could drop by my cube spontaneously or even shout out as they walked by. I found it harder to work on a project when I was being interrupted often. At home, I am only interrupted when it’s convenient for me whether it’s checking email, making calls, or having a scheduled working lunch. Therefore, I find that I much more productive at home when I can focus on a task and work it to completion. I still feel connected to my social network and coworkers because I’m chatting in Kona conversations and I have much more control over when I interact.

  6. Easily fit in my workouts at lunch or during morning/evening commute This benefit certainly ties in to the “extra time not spent commuting” but I feel it deserves its own place because working from home full-time has really made a difference in my overall health and wellness. I have lost 10 pounds and 13 inches working from home by eating better and exercising regularly. I set up a Kona space to track my Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution progress and I love checking off the exercise each day!I generally workout at home but as a full-time married mother of two, I really struggled to find the time to get my workouts in. Once I started working from home full-time, I was able to plan exercise around my work schedule. I can do a good workout at lunch and then hop in the shower without taking time away from my tasks. I’m not offending coworkers with sweat and I have flexibility on fitting in the exercise.

  7. Flexibility in work/life balance and schedule Since I don’t have to commute and I have all the resources I need at home, I can flex my schedule on a daily basis in regards to what works best for me. Whether I have a doctor’s appointment or want to visit my child’s school or have a 9pm meeting due to timezone differences, I am prepared for everything. I’ll start early, work through lunch, take a midday break for the appointment, and then hop back in to the office after my kids are in bed. My schedule works for me and sets me up for success. I work when I’m most productive and I can do the home life things that are important to me.

  8. Home when service providers need to be at the house Being home is really convenient when you need to have a service provider at the house or wait for a special delivery/package. You can schedule the earliest appointment with confidence knowing you’ll be there.

  9. Work from anywhere and any time zone A coworker friend of mine moved to North Carolina shortly after we were virtualized. Since there was no longer any reason to be in physical proximity to the office, he was able to move to a better location for his family while still retaining his job.Other coworkers have realized dreams to spend more time at second houses where they can enjoy working from home by the beach or the mountains. Full-time telecommuting also gives my company the benefit of being able to hire the best person for the job regardless of where they are located. We are not limited to a local pool of candidates.

  10. Listen to music/news radio while working The typical office environment background noise is phones ringing, people talking, typing on a computer, etc. You wouldn’t turn on a TV or radio because you don’t want to disturb your coworkers. However, when you work in a home office environment, you can set the ambience to what works best for you. I find that listening to good music on the radio can keep me motivated while I’m working.

Are you a telecommuter or thinking about it? Please share your favorite reasons to work from home in the comments.