Has your boss told you to pack your things and go home? According to statistics from the Department of Labor, an increasing number of careers—dependable, long-term positions in medical coding and medical transcription, for example—are being filled by professionals working outside of the traditional office environment. Telecommuting is not new—it’s been around for years. But its popularity among employees and employers has taken off because of the convenience, speed and cost effectiveness that the Internet has introduced into the work paradigm. If you haven’t tried telecommuting, but you're considering going over to the other side, here are a few of the benefits of leaving the cube farm for the living room (or local coffee shop). Be warned: There are downsides, too. But we'll save that for another blog post. In the meantime, here are the perks:
- You own your work hours. When you telecommute, you have to make your own schedule. You may get to chose when you begin your workday, when you can have a break, and when you will press the shut-down key and say, “That’s all folks!” Working from home means you can craft your schedule (and deadlines) around your duties at home. If you're good at budgeting your time and at multitasking, this can make for less stress and more time for yourself and your loved ones. Which brings us to #2 ...
- You have more time for your family. Because you may be home when your loved ones are also home, you get to take care of their needs more fully and effectively. Many a working parent would give an arm and a leg to have more time and a closer relationship with his or her family, but unfortunately they can’t because they have to be in the office all day long.
- You spend less. Working in an office costs your boss money. He or she is paying the rent and the electric bills. But it also costs you, the worker. Think about the money you spend on gas and on maintaining your car. Think about the food you buy for lunch (often not the healthiest food, so it costs you in ways other than money).
- You can give up commuting. Driving to and from work can drive you crazy. Plus it can cut into your productivity. Working from home means saying goodbye to that time-wasting, stress-inducing commute in rush-hour traffic. It also means more productive (and healthier) hours at home for both work and your personal projects.
- It keeps you safe. We already looked at the financial and time costs of driving to and from work. But consider, for a minute, the millions of car accidents in the United States every year. And a lot of them happen when sleepy drivers are on their way to work or when exhausted drivers are on the way home from work. Telecommuting keeps those highways free and clear, which is safer and less stressful for all.
- It makes you more productive. This one is counterintuitive for a lot of people. But report after report shows that people get more work done when they are in a comfortable environment. You already know that sweat pants are more comfortable than a business suit. As long as you can resist the temptation to get TOO comfortable (lying supine in front of the TV certainly isn't going to make your boss happy), your self-discipline will pay you (and your employer) huge dividends in increased productivity.