Working from home has a ton of benefits. I’ve worked as a remote employee for 8+ years. Before then, I worked in a physical office with my coworkers.
Going fully digital with your career is life changing. Below are the top benefits I’ve experienced working from home.
No More Commute
Some people are not able to live near the office where they work, or maybe they have a spouse that has a long commute.
Working remotely not only saves you a ton of time, but it also means you spend less on fuel and maintenance on your vehicle. For example, if it takes you 20 mins to get to work, which most people consider a small amount of travel time (especially when you hear about people having to drive 1+ hours to get to work), that adds up to over 3 hours per week. Or 13 hours per month, which comes to over 156 hours per year!
What could you do with an extra 156 hours per year?
That is about 3.5 weeks of a full-time job that you are dedicating to traveling in your car to work. After working remotely for so long, this is one thing I don’t think I could give up. The benefits of eliminating your job commute are massive.
In addition to saving time and money, not having to commute to work also has environmental benefits. You are reducing the amount of pollution generated in your city. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Being able to walk inside of your home office to work, means it is easier to jump in and out of clocking in hours.
When the weather is beautiful, I like to go for a walk or take a short bike ride on the local trails near my neighborhood. Sometimes I do this during my lunch hour. Other times, I take a break in the afternoon and make up the time either before or after work some time that week.
Periodically one of our kids gets sick and has to stay home from school. Instead of having to take the full day off to take care of their needs, I can often take part of the day off. That way I can be available when I’m needed, and re-arrange my schedule.
Each company is going to have different policies on what is acceptable. But I found most companies are willing to have you temporarily change your work hours to meet a pressing need during the day.
Time flexibility is enormous when talking about financial independence. In fact, your work from home job might give you enough flexibility with your time, that you don’t mind holding down your job.
When you work in a physical office, that usually comes with having to be in an environment alongside other people.
Maybe you work next to someone who talks loudly. Or a co-worker likes to go on about their fishing trips for 30-minutes. When you are facing project deadlines and deliverables, the only thing you want to do is focus on what you need to get done.
Working from home allows you to work in an environment that is much less distracting. Or at least it provides options in changing things to suit your needs.
I’ve become relatively particular about the coffee I like to drink in the morning. Granted, I could do this regardless of the type of job I had, but working from home means that I can continually drink the coffee of my choice all day long. If I need an afternoon snack, I’m only limited by what is in my pantry.
Downgrading to One Vehicle
In households that have kids, where both parents work, it is common for the family to need two vehicles. But when at least one partner works from home, you have the possibility of getting by with one car.
It takes coordination to figure out how to share one car, but the financial benefits can be massive. You only have to get insurance for one car, and you don’t have to worry about maintenance or fuel costs having a 2nd vehicle.
In our case, we currently have two vehicles. But we might decide to downgrade to one car eventually. The financial benefits might be worth the extra effort in coordinating who needs to use the car. It could also open up the option of getting a nicer solo vehicle.
If you have a 2-car garage, going this route frees up more space to do other things. We love to do craft projects, and having a car space opened up in our garage would mean we could tackle DIY projects all year long.
Can Live Anywhere
One huge advantage of working at home is you have the option of moving to a different area and keeping your job (in most cases).
If you can get by living in an area that has a low cost of living, this can mean more cash in your pocket. While others with similar jobs have to deal with high rent or mortgage prices, you can relish in the thought of having more space for less money. I haven’t heard of remote jobs that pay you differently depending on where you live.
But the reverse could also be true. Maybe you decide to move to a higher cost of living area. This transition becomes easier because you know you don’t have to find a new job before/after you move, and you have the option of moving later if you don’t like it.
Being location agnostic, you can roam when and where you want. Once you become a digital nomad, you most likely will not want to give up this benefit!
Your Work From Home Office is Your Fortress
I have full control over the layout and setup of my home office. I can hang whatever I want on the walls. The position of my computer speakers is 100% in my control.
And by working from home, you only have to use headphones if you want to! You can crank the music as loud as you want, or listen to podcasts while you work. The freedom in how you set up, and what you do in your home office, is up to you.
I installed floating shelves in my home office for my computer speakers and to display pictures of my family. The office is in our basement, which means it is cooler in the summers, but still has a window where I can get natural light. I have a standing desk that I use periodically.
I say all of this because having full flexibility in my work environment allows me to focus on what makes me comfortable during the workday, without having to consider how my choices affect my coworkers.
More Employment Options
When you don’t work remotely, you have to get a job near where you live. This limit does not exist when you work from home.
And depending on where you live, this also means that you might make much more than what the local workforce brings in to do the same thing.
In other words, the world is full of possible employers in different locations who might be looking for someone like you. Your income potential goes up, as companies in various areas might have much higher salaries.
If you get fired, or if the company you work for goes out of business, it can be much easier to find other jobs. You become limited only by how much time you spend looking for remote jobs in your field. The more time you spend in your job search, the more likely you are to generate interest.
Since you are working at home, most remote jobs will supply you with equipment that is mobile friendly (explicitly talking about working remotely as an employee). This equipment usually means a laptop and other stuff that allows you to work from your home office.
When you work from a laptop, this means you can change up your work location without much hassle. Just pack up your gear and head to a local coffee shop, or library, for example.
Having a mobile workstation is great because you can change up your work environment in your local area effortlessly. You could also put in some work time while you travel, or (God forbid) when you are on vacation.
At times I can feel like my house is pressing down on my soul, where I need to get out. Changing your work scenery can be an attitude booster, and can be necessary when spending massive amounts of time in your home office.
The fact that your employer hires remote employees means they have to have systems set up that can be used from anywhere.
This idea relates to not being tied to any location. Otherwise, no one would be able to work outside of the office.
Having a mobile-friendly work process is a benefit in that everything you need becomes accessible from your laptop. There are many 3rd party web applications that help to connect a remote workforce. These tools can include things such as video conferencing (Zoom and Google Hangouts are great), chat software (I love Slack), and ticketing systems.
When a meeting gets abruptly canceled, it is not a huge deal, since you would be at your desk anyway. If you need to talk to someone that isn’t available right that second, you can send a message in chat, and the message will be seen eventually. A lot of these efficiencies would not be present if the company was not set up to hire remote employees.
It’s true that the above benefits have drastically improved my time working. Not only has working from home increased my income, but it has allowed me to enjoy more of what I do.
I especially like how when I’m working on a problem I can buckle down and focus on getting it solved as quickly as possible. When an unexpected issue comes up, I don’t have to haul it to a corporate office. I just have to walk downstairs and boot up my computer.
It’s a combination of all the benefits of working remotely that make this option worthwhile.
Fewer Office Politics
Not being in the office means you miss out on some of the drama experienced in the company building.
In some companies, the amount of office politics and drama can be soul crushing. Most of this drama goes away when working from home, as these things are less prevalent coming through in chat, email, and online meetings.
The way people interact digitally can often be much different than what happens in person. This idea doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen when you work at home, but I have found that it is much less of an issue when I’m not in the office.
Have you ever encountered an awkward heated debate between people at the office? Where people raise their voice, or a harsh word is spoken? I have, and it is uncomfortable for anyone who happens to be in the room. Becoming a digital nomad eliminates most of these problems.
If working from home can be summed up in one word, “independence” would be it. You open yourself up to more options in how and where you work, along with freeing up your time and money to do other things.
Once you experience this type of freedom, it is going to be hard to hold a regular 9-5 office job.
Working from home comes with a vast amount of benefits. In some cases, the benefits might justify taking a pay cut. But sometimes it can mean you make more money since you have access to more companies providing higher salaries.
Thinking about how your home office is set up, and the equipment you use can improve the time you spend working at home. It can be a benefit to you and your employer.
Chris is a financial blogger who loves to be transparent about money-related issues. He’s paid off massive amounts of credit card debt and is the blog author of Money Stir. His main focus on Money Stir is talking about how money relates to our relationships, personal development, and how to plan for the future we want. He’s been quoted on Market Watch, The Ladders, and other publications.