What It’s Actually Like to Work From Home

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Working from home is a dream for a lot of people. It has become such a sought-after situation, that even scammers are advertising work-from-home positions to lure people in and steal their information. It’s definitely becoming more popular, but only 2.8% of the U.S. workforce works from home at least part-time.

I would’ve never thought that my first job in IT would be a work-from-home position. I got lucky and got a job where mostly all the employees were in remote positions. I’ve been working this job for almost a year now and thought it would be fun to look back on what it’s been like to transition from a job that I had to drive to, to a job where my commute consists of walking to the other side of the house.

No commute = awesomeness

Not having to worry about driving anywhere in the mornings has really cut some stress out of my life. I don’t have to worry about being on time or getting caught in traffic. Not having to depend on a vehicle to get me to my job is another great perk. Thankfully, I never broke down on the way to work when I was driving to my job, but it feels good to eliminate that worry altogether.

My favorite part about not having a commute is being able to save on gas. I did a calculation and to take home the same amount of money I do right now with a commute of 15 miles one way, I’d have to earn an extra $7,000 a year. I did the calculation at fifty-five cents a mile and factored in the two and a half hours I’d be spending in the car each week at my current hourly rate. There aren’t very many options for me in the IT field that are within 15 miles of where I live so I’d probably have to move if I were to change jobs.

Comfy clothes for the win!

My morning routine usually consists of getting out of bed, throwing on the nearest comfortable clothes I can find and heading to the coffee machine. No more worrying about getting up and getting ready and out the door by a certain time. Shower? Maybe, if not, who cares – I’ll get to it at some point during the day. I still try to look nice when I go out in public, but my cat doesn’t care how I look so if I want to wear gym shorts and a hoodie, no one’s stopping me.

If you know me, you know that I try to appear reasonably put together when I’m out and about. That being said, I think it’s better for the soul to not have to worry about looking good for the world each and every day. There is not enough time for me to do everything I need to do in the day and stay looking sharp the entire time.

I finally work in a room with a window!

Over the first couple of months of working from home, I felt a pretty drastic change in my mood. Before this job, I hadn’t worked in a room with a window for over two and a half years. I wish there was some way for me to actually measure the amount of stress that has been eliminated from my life. Having to stress about waking up and driving to work only to be stuck in a broom closet like Harry Potter for 8 hours is some soul-sucking stuff. And yes, I think my office at my job prior to this was actually supposed to be a broom closet.

Being able to open the blinds and see that there is still a world out there with lots of colors helps me get through my day. I can take breaks and walk around the yard and feel the grass under my feet. It’s a cool situation. I need to start doing that more actually, I get too tied up in working, blogging and selling on ebay that I don’t spend enough time outside.

My house has been in better condition since I started working from home as well. Being able to cut the grass on my lunch break and pick up things that are lying around during the day has made it easier to keep things tidy.

My job can go wherever I go

I haven’t experimented with this very much, but if I wanted to, I could travel non-stop and still work full time. All I need is my laptop and an internet connection. I still have to put in 8 hours of work though so if I traveled without taking off work, my wife would have to occupy herself for 8 hours.

It’s nice to be able to go get things done during the day. If I need to get some car work done or go anywhere that has a waiting room, I can take my laptop and continue to work.

Are there cons?

While working from home has been great so far and has taken away stress and allowed me to save more money, it does have some drawbacks. The only socialization I get from co-workers is over the phone. I’m a bit of an introvert anyway though so this hasn’t been too bad to get adjusted to.

It is harder to stay focused on work when you don’t have anyone watching you. If I want to watch videos on YouTube instead of whatever task I’m supposed to be doing, no one’s there to catch me if I do. So, it takes a lot more discipline to be a good work-from-home employee.

The pay is usually lower for remote jobs. You do save a lot of money by cutting out the commute though, so I think the lower pay is evened out by that. If you can live close enough to work where you still don’t have to drive there though, that’s a win-win.

It takes more time to learn your job duties when you work from home. If I need to learn something, I have to go hunt someone down who is free and schedule some time to call them. I don’t have the option of walking over to someone and getting advice.  You have to be a self-starter to succeed at working from home.

Is working from home better than the alternative?

To me, yes. The benefits massively outweigh the drawbacks. I don’t think I ever want to have a job where there is a commute involved again. Working from home is becoming more and more popular and if you have the chance to do it, I highly recommend it.  Sure, I listened to some interesting podcasts/radio shows on my commutes to work but, other than that, the time spent in the car was wasted. I can still listen to podcasts all day, so it doesn’t matter anyway. Oh, and I forgot to mention that we’re kinda destroying the planet by driving so much… I’ll end on that note.

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