Yesterday my city woke up to about an inch of snow – and a lot of black ice. Schools were canceled, buses were on snow routes, and the newscasters were gleefully running a continuous loop of cars sliding sideways on streets and crashing into things. If you live some place that actually has winter and snow plows it’s hard to explain the drama of snow and ice in the Northwest. It’s fascinating.
My office, like many, had a two hour late start, but all of my meetings got canceled and most of my employees requested to take the day off or work from home to avoid the treacherous driving conditions, so I decided that I would also work from home. I’m glad I did.
As I told my boss today, I can get so much more done in my pajamas.
There’s been a lot written about the benefits and drawbacks of teleworking but I’m a huge advocate for the occasional day working from home. The first, and most obvious benefit: I can stay in my pajamas and I don’t have to wear shoes. I love being comfortable while I work. And bonus: it reduces laundry.
Some people complain that they feel isolated working at home, but I find just like in the office, there are occasional pop ins. Only instead of people asking me a question, the pop ins are from the dog, wondering if I could possibly end his suffering and give him a treat to stave off starvation. I mean, look at the face at the top of this post, an actual photo I took while working at home one day last year. Could you deny that sweet face a tasty dog biscuit? Of course not.
One of the huge benefits of a work at home day is that I get so much more done than I do in the office. Some days I’ve gotten more done in a couple of hours than I normally get done all day. It’s particularly helpful when I’ve got a lot of writing to do, or I’m working on a budget, and I need to concentrate without interruptions. I’ve done some of my best work at home.
I’m not alone here. A 2-year study done by Stanford showed that working at home was associated with significantly increased productivity, better concentration and increased worker satisfaction. They estimated that employers could get a productivity boost that’s equivalent to a full day of work, or more, depending on the amount of time working at home. They found when you work at home you take fewer breaks, are less likely to get sick, you’re happier and more satisfied with your job. Win-win.
When I work at home I’ll use my lunch break to do things like walk the dog, fit in some yoga, or do a load of laundry. Those breaks help me to feel like I’m accomplishing even more, and leaves fewer things to worry about when I’m done with work for the day. If I can work and get some exercise and have clean clothes I really feel like I’m winning in the work-life balance department, and accomplishing much more in my 8 hours than I normally do.
Working at home for a day can also save you the hassle of a commute. This was a benefit in my old job for sure, avoiding the stress and cost of going downtown. My new job is only 1.5 miles away from home though, and has free parking, so that’s not as big of a draw as it once was.
As an introvert, a work at home day is actually quite recharging for me, giving me a break from needing to be social or engage in conversations that aren’t with my dog. I know my fellow introverts understand the value of this perk.
Yesterday I ended my day with a huge feeling of accomplishment, and I felt refreshed and almost caught up with my work when I came to the office this morning. I’m grateful that I have the type of job where I can occasionally work from home. It’s a rare day that I don’t have meetings but I’m trying to take advantage of it when I can.
Now if we could just have some more snow days I can really catch up…
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