Having worked at home for the last 8 months or so I thought I'd give my top 10 reasons to work at home.
- The daily commute is about as good as it gets. From my bed to the kitchen (for coffee) to the office my total commute is about 50 steps.
- Really great coworkers. My two dogs Tommy and Nelly are always there for moral support. Few coworkers will ever be as cheerful and carefree as two young black labs.
- I can wear fuzzy slippers and no one will give me a speech (or dirty look) about unprofessionalism. For the record I have regular and not fuzzy slippers.
- Productivity. It really has increased. Without having to check on hundreds of emails, or attend hours of phone or in person meetings my productivity has drastically increased. It's possible to increase productivity at the office by taking control of your schedule and placing limits on email checking ... but it wont be easy...
- The view. I used to work in a semi-dungeon. It would have been decades before I got a window. Now I get plenty of sunshine throughout the day, and a tax break that goes along with the fact that it's in my spare bedroom.
- No politicking. Being judged strictly on results is rare and refreshing. Tommy and Nelly only know how to politic to see who gets to be pet first ... also a plus.
- Lunch with my wife. I get to eat lunch with her just about everyday now for about 30 minutes. I also don't have to go out for lunch or pack a lunch anymore. It's surprising how much time/productivity/cost this saves/increases/decreases.
- Ability to multitask with thinking and small chores at the same time. A surprising amount of key insights in my work lately have been achieved while doing the dishes, plucking weeds or going to Vitamin Cottage.
- Living locally, Living Green. I can now walk almost everywhere that I need to go on a daily basis. Freedom is not just the ability to "roam about the country", but also the ability to stay exactly where you are.
- Freedom. As long as the bills are paid (i.e. the obligations of the contracts you work on) you really are free to work on the jobs you want to work on, the way you want to work on them, with the schedule that you desire (as long as it doesn't negate the contract). You are also free to choose your own insurance, your own vacation time (subject to paying your bills of course), your own equipment and most of your coworkers. What's better than working at home? Working in that foreign country you've always wanted to live in but never had the cash or courage to do so. What's better than quitting your job? Quitting a small portion of your job and finding another contract to replace it without suffering a monumental shortfall in income (make sure you have an escape clause in your contract!).
As an addendum to my list I would also like to point out that the number 1 reason most people do not work from home, or for themselves (as a contractor, consultant or entrepreneur) is fear: fear of failure and fear of the risk of unemployment or varied employment.
However, in the last 8 months since leaving Google two conclusions have been solidified for me:
- Mathematically you are far less likely to suffer a catastrophic loss with a diversified portfolio of income. For example, working 4 contracts is far less likely to result in the loss of all 4 contracts at one time than working 1 full time job is to result in being laid off. Self-employed diversified income is usually more variable, but long term it is far more dependable.
- In the United States all employment is 'at will', mostly meaning at the will of the employer. You may leave your job any time you wish, but more importantly your employer may ask you to leave at any time. When it suits the company they will have absolutely no loyalty to you no matter what you've done or how much time you've put in.
Here's to freedom for the working class!