Working from home is often depicted as the Holy Grail of jobs.Who wouldn’t want to spend less time commuting and more time with their family and friends?And just think of all the time and money you can save by working from home!Even better, you can work in your pajamas (just don’t tell the boss).
I’ve been working from home for a little more than a year now, and I can tell you that all of these claims are true. But teleworking can be a bit of a mixed bag.Here’s a quick reality check on the world of working remotely.
First, the good. . .
More money in my pocket – I have saved hundreds of dollars (maybe even a thousand or more) in my first year as a remote worker.My auto insurance premium is lower because I drive fewer miles and I spend far less on gas and car maintenance than I did when I commuted to work every day.But there are other savings too – a smaller budget for my work wardrobe and less money going to the junk food shop in the lobby of our office building, just to name two.
More time – The two hours that I used to spend commuting are now mine!I’m not sure where it goes, but that’s another topic entirely. . .
Practicing what I preach – For almost six years I’ve spent my days spreading the word about teleworking as a traffic and air quality solution.Two of my clients, The Clean Air Campaign and BATMA, encourage employers to implement telework and other commute options programs and provide them with resources that make it easier.Knowing that I’m one less car on the road each day makes me feel good about my work.
Keeping my job – The biggest benefit of working remotely is not giving up a job that I enjoy just because I no longer live in Atlanta.I’m fortunate to have a boss who recognized that my out-of-state move didn’t have to mean the end of my career at Cookerly.There are certainly challenges to working from so far away (see below), but they aren’t insurmountable.
Now the bad. . .
Constant distraction – An office has its own distractions – lengthy conversations with colleagues, trips to the junk food shop downstairs and that pile of magazines on my desk that really need to get read.But distractions at home are a bit more powerful, at least for me.Here I have laundry, dishes, bills and all kinds of other things competing for my attention. It takes discipline to stay focused on my work, and I’m getting a little better at it all the time.
No face time – I miss my colleagues and my clients.Even though my work is easily done remotely, there are times when it would be more fun to do it in person.And working remotely means I also have to work a bit harder to stay connected to my team.What used to be handled by walking next door (or just shouting through the wall, more likely) now requires an email or a phone call.Not a big deal.
Never leaving the house – There are weeks when I don’t leave my house for four or five days in a row.I’m a bit of a home-body but that can get to be too much, even for me.
And the ugly?
If there’s good and bad to teleworking, then there must be ugly, right? I can honestly say that there hasn’t been a truly ugly side to working remotely. Scratch that – the “ugly” is me on the days I work in pajamas until noon. (But don’t tell the boss.)