To Work at Home or Not Work at Home

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girl writing notes in front of her laptop

To work at home or not work at home. That is the question. But what is the answer? I woke up this morning, slipped into my favorite sweatshirt and pants and proceeded to go to work.

At some point I made coffee and drove my daughter to school but aside from that, my home is where my office is. As a freelance writer I segue from bedroom to kitchen to desk.

There are times when I debate whether working at home is a blessing or a curse but at the end of the day the positives outweigh the negatives. Is working at home right for you? Only you can decide but until then allow me to throw in my two-cents worth.

The Good

If you’re debating whether to work at home or not work at home relish the fact that if you’re home is your office you’ll save considerably on gas, commute time, lunch, stress and anything else that sucks time out of your day, puts creases on your brow and money out of your wallet.

And lest you think I am alone in this singular pursuit of happiness consider this:

According the 2010 U.S. Department of Labor Statistics “American Time Use Study” (released in June 2011) almost a quarter of employed persons did some or all of their work at home.

And of that amount, the percentage of men and women working at home was almost even (24.5 percent for women vs. 22.9 percent for men). And those numbers are growing.

Breaking it down further, I estimate that the time I save just on commuting adds up to an extra work day. The money I save on gas and lunch is money in the bank or more money in my pocket to spend on me and the family.

Lack of corporate politics equates to less stress and more health. To work at home or not work at home?

The Bad

Maybe “bad” is too harsh a word. But if you work a home, I hope you get along well with yourself. In other words you have to be organized and disciplined. The dark underbelly of working at home is the potential for distractions.

You are alone and you have to stay focused. Worse yet is if your spouse, children or guests are home while you’re working. They may not necessarily understand and/or separate that you are working as opposed to being “home”.

And believe it or not, one of the biggest pitfalls of working at home is that time management can actually work against you: your desk is always there and can easily hook you back in. Meaning the work flow never really ends if you don’t watch out.

Making it Work

I tell anyone that listens that if you want to work at home and succeed you have to treat what you do as a job. Whether you are working in pajamas or sweatpants is not the issue.

The challenge is to get up and start and stick with it. Having said that, when you plan your day, allow for a break. For me that means a break in late afternoon to hit the gym.

But I’m flexible so my workout might be in the morning. And I do take coffee breaks during the day as well. And I try not to feel guilty about it.

To work at home or not work at home. That may be the question but for me it is one easily answered.