I heard an interesting statistic on the radio this morning—most Americans would be willing to take a 5 percent pay cut in order to work from home. I’ve been working from my home for 25 years now and must admit that I really wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. However, I started thinking about the whole concept of a pay cut after the radio announcer finished and thought that we’re looking at the issue from the wrong perspective. Sure, the 5 percent pay cut is real, but is it actually a pay cut? Let’s examine that for a moment. The 5 percent pay cut to work at home would result in the following savings:
- Reduced driving needs, which means lower insurance
- Less gas used
- Less wear and tear on the car
- Lower cost, more nutritional eat-at-home lunches
- Less need for expensive clothing
- No day care required
- Less time wasted in travel (and time is money)
If you don’t already have a home office then you will need to make one. These means buying furniture such as a desk, office chair, drawers etc. and getting some tech like a laptop. This cost In short, from a financial perspective, both the employer and employee come out ahead. Of course, this costs money. However, you can get some good office furniture at good prices from places like Office Monster and it’s a one-off cost and long term investment. I still think in the long run you would save money. In short, the benefits of working at home only start here. This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re an employer, you want your employees working at home. According to Business News Daily and many other sources, employees who work at home are significantly more productive in the right circumstances. So the employer not only saves on the pay required for a work at home employee, but also gets more for the employee’s efforts (assuming that the employee is actually working and not getting distracted). (In addition, there are other financial benefits for the employer such as reduced absenteeism and reduced infrastructure requirements, such as desks and office space.) Because working from home is becoming more of a reality for many Americans, a number of authors have taken a stab at making it work out better for everyone involved:
- The Top 3 Work at Home Productivity Tips (bizchicksblog.com)
7 Tips for Work at Home Productivity (The Work at Home Wife)
- Top 3 Work-At-Home Productivity Killers (and Solutions) (manilla blog)
- 10 Work At Home Productivity Tips (www.ezau.com)
- 9 Ways To Increase Your Productivity While Working From Home (Mashable Business)
The one essential tidbit of information that you should glean from most of these posts is that you need some sort of schedule. In fact, a few of these sources actually draw you a picture of a schedule. Having goals that you want to meet each day is an essential part of the work at home experience.
There is no doubt that the effects of working at home extend well beyond the benefits that both employer and employee can obtain. Working at home can be better for the environment because the worker isn’t driving anywhere. However, whether the environment gains or not is really a matter of the environment in which the employee is working. A basement office using incandescent bulbs, a plug in heater, and old computer equipment is hardly energy efficient and could actually end up increasing the employee’s carbon footprint.
The health benefits of working from home are also well documented. Employees who work from home are less stressed, eat better, and spend more time doing something other than driving a car. The mental and physical benefits of working in a familiar, cozy environment make it possible for employees to live better lives. In addition, even when an employee does get sick, it’s often possible for the employee to work part of the day, rather than miss an entire day at work, so the employer gains as well.
I’m not a parent, so I have no personal experience with child rearing. However, in researching work at home statistics, I did run across a few articles that suggest work at home parents actually give their children a better chance of performing well later in life. I’d be interested in hearing from people who have significant experiences one way or the other—especially in situations where one child was raised at home and another in childcare.
Will working from home work for everyone? The answer is absolutely not. Certain professions require that employees still trudge to work. In these cases, working as close to home as possible will still save travel time, wear and tear on your car, reduce insurance payments, and still benefit the environment to some degree. Working close enough to walk to work or use public transportation is even better. However, some people will continue to go to work at a factory or office somewhere, no matter how much technology progresses.
If your employer doesn’t
offer work at home, create proposal that makes it more likely that the
employer will at least consider allowing you to do it. Everyone
benefits! Do you think you could perform your work at home? Are you doing it now? Let me know your thoughts on the whole work at home question at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.