I’ve been working from home pretty much on a full-time basis for about a year now. Even though more companies are moving towards flexible work arrangements, I still get the same mix of reactions when I tell people that I work from home. On that note, I thought I’d write a two-part post outlining the best (and worst) aspects to being a teleworker.

The 7 Best things about working from home from someone who telecommuted for a year:Click To Tweet

Here’s what I think are the 7 best things about working from home:

1) The lack of a commute

Crowded subway platform
Photo Courtesy of Ianqui Doodle

I get to work using the subway – or the Go train depending on which office I’m working at. Some days; it’s a smooth process, I get up, go out, make my train connections and I’m in the office. Then there are days when the subway platforms are so crowded you can barely find a spot to stand without stepping on someone else’s toes.

On those days, you have to wait long periods of time to get onto a subway (or train) and the act of getting onto the train typically involves a form of aggression on your part. That is, use your elbows and push your way through. Otherwise, you’ll be left standing for a while. As was the case for me last week where I waited 40 minutes just to be able to board a subway train.

Working from home, I don’t have to set my alarm as early as “in the office” days. I wake up, shower, have my coffee and then make my way to my in-home office to start my work day. I don’t have to pack up my laptop, my lunch, put on a coat and trudge through the adventure that is commuting on public transportation in rush hour.

2) Less money spent on commuting

Empty Wallet

Photo Courtesy of NoHoDamon

A monthly pass in Toronto now costs $133.75 per month. People who sign up for the home delivery plan currently pay $122.50 per month. My Go train costs vary depending on what routes I take and how many times I use it. Either way, transit passes are not cheap.

Working from home, I am no longer reliant on taking transit as many times during the week, which results in more money in my pocket. Who doesn’t appreciate an extra couple of bucks at the end of the month?

3) Spending less money buying lunch


Photo Courtesy of ben_osteen

One perk to being in the office is the variety of places to go for lunch. Even if it’s not a full sit-down experience, there can be food courts or other vendors around where lunch can be picked up. Options can sometimes be limited but even if there’s only one or two places to go, it’s still a plus to know that if you don’t feel like packing your lunch, you’ve got a few options.

While working from home, you can still go out and buy lunch but the likelihood that you’re going to put on a coat – or shoes – when you haven’t left the house yet is minimal. The tendency (and I speak from experience here) is to stay home and make your lunch. Unless you’ve got errands to run on your lunch hour, my guess is your butt will be firmly planted at home.

4) Not having to wear work clothes every day

Clothes hanging on a rack

Photo Courtesy of Marc Roberts

I’ve never worked anywhere that required attire to be more formal than business casual. When I go into the office, a pair of slacks with a blouse or sweater is appropriate. Still, having to coordinate which pants to wear with which top – and making sure that everything is cleaned and pressed – isn’t something I enjoy. I’m a casual kind of gal, I really appreciate things like jean Fridays and being able to wear my Converse sneakers at the office.

'Oh, you work from home? I bet you're in your pj's all day!' #nonotreallyClick To Tweet

“Oh, you work from home? I bet you’re in your pj’s all day!” I hear that a lot. And I mean a lot. While it is easy to stay in your pyjamas, I tend to wear my jeans and one of my work blouses. Being in my pyjamas makes me feel like it’s time for a nap. Working in my jeans more than just on Fridays is definitely a huge plus for me.

5) The flexibility to be home for appointments


Photo Courtesy of John Carleton

How many times have you needed a plumber or a cable repairman to come to your home and they’ve given you an appointment window of 8 am to 5 pm? Instead of losing a day’s work, I can work from home and be productive while I wait for the appointment to arrive.

6) Fewer distractions leads to greater productivity


Photo Courtesy of speric

Working in a pod of cubicles can be distracting. You hear everyone else’s fingers tapping away on their keyboards, phones ringing, people talking on the phone and with other cubicle mates, and a variety of other noises and distractions. Even if you put on headphones to listen to music, you still have to worry about someone coming up behind and catching you off guard.

Studies show that it can take more than 25 minutes, on average, to resume a task after being interrupted. I’m sure anyone who works in an office, in a cubicle in a busy area, can speak to how often they’re interrupted over the course of the day.

While working from home, the only fingertips I can hear tapping a keyboard are my own. Only one phone rings at any given time during the day. There is no one sneaking up on me when I least expect it (except for the cat) and the only music I hear is my own, which I can play at whatever volume I’d like. I feel like I can get a lot more done when I’m working from home than I would have had I been in the office.

7) More time spent at home results in better work/life balance

Cat in a lap

Photo Courtesy of Vicki’s Pics

Not commuting can give me an hour and a half back in my day. I can use that time to run errands, make dinner or just sit on my couch reading or watching Netflix. I enjoy the extra time with the cat – even if she often looks annoyed that I’m her space.

Next up, I’ll be covering the worst things about working from home.