Almost two years ago, Jordan, Luc and I moved from New York City to Philadelphia. I struck an arrangement with my company that allowed me to stay on as an employee, work from my home in Philadelphia 4 days a week, and commute to my company’s New York City office 1 day a week.
Working from home is indescribably awesome. Well, actually, it’s describable. As a matter of fact, that’s why I’m writing this. Here are some of the benefits that I’ve experienced working from home.
On the days I’m working from home, I have no commute. After eating breakfast with Jordan, Luc and Rowan, I just walk upstairs to my office and get to work. I can “come home” for a lunch break downstairs, and then go “back to the office” for the afternoon. When I’m done for the day, I walk downstairs and I’m home.
One problem with this is I don’t have an automatic reason to go outside every day. I need to consciously get my butt out of the house on a regular basis.
On the days I travel to NYC, I have a really long commute, almost 3 hours each way. Luckily, I’m on trains the whole way, aside from a short walk to the station here in Philly and another short walk in Manhattan. With two young kids at home, it’s difficult to find time for yourself, so it’s actually a real treat to have that long stretch on the train.
See My Family More
The best part about working from home is the family connection. I get to see my family at lunchtime on those days. Sometimes the timing works out and I can eat lunch with them. Other times I don’t catch them for lunch, but I still get to see them and find out how the day is going. Since I have no commute, I also get to see more of my kids in the morning and evening.
Working at home is very casual. When I work from home, I wear casual clothes. Yesterday, I wore a T-shirt and jeans, and no shoes. When it gets to be wintertime, I’ll break out my slippers. My grooming schedule is also, shall we say, highly flexible: some days, I shower before work, and other days, I shower at lunch. I try to shave my beard as infrequently as possible. That usually means I shave before heading into NYC, and the rest of the time I’m scruffy.
Peace and Quiet
At our NYC office, there’s a TV blasting financial news all day long. It’s necessary for some people to be aware of the news, but it’s not important for my role. Over the years, I’ve learned to block it out somewhat, but even after all this time I still find it very distracting. At home, I’m fortunate to have a room in our apartment that’s used exclusively as an office, so I can close the door and remain mostly undisturbed. There’s no TV. It’s peaceful.
When you’re working in an office, people drop by your desk to ask a question or maybe just to chit-chat. Working at home, I get fewer interruptions. I’m able to focus much better at home than I can in our NYC office. I’m not saying if you work in an office you should lock yourself in a room and not talk to anyone. I enjoy the social and creative aspects of working in an office. Working from home is just different. It’s less social, and more focused. If you generally like to work in a quiet environment, working from home a few days a week might be a good deal for you.
Currently Luc is 4 years old, Rowan is 1, and Jordan takes care of Luc and Rowan during the day. They are all in and out of the house all day. Since I’m in a separate office though, I am usually unaware of the goings-on in the house. They all respect the “closed door” boundary while I’m at work, which I’m grateful for. One of our concerns going into this arrangement was whether our children would be barging in on me while I was working. In fact this has happened only a handful of times — I would say less than five times over the last 2 years, and even then it’s mostly happened at the very end of the day.
I love working from home, but there are benefits to working in an office too. Check out my followup post, The Benefits of Working in an Office.