Environmental, Social and Economic Benefits of Working from Home
Do you love to get in your car every morning to drive to work and again every evening to drive home? Do you enjoy rush hour traffic? Does filling up your car with gasoline fill you with happiness and pride? If so, this article is not for you. If, on the other hand, you wish you could be more independent of your car and not tied to the petrochemical industry through the fuel pump umbilical cord, read on.
Years ago I worked in Silicon Valley at an environmental consulting company. The irony of trying to save the environment while commuting and hour and a half every day was pretty much lost on me. I was young and inculcated with our society’s values. I had learned that I needed to work for a company to earn a salary and driving my own car was the way to get there. Sometimes I’d take the train and the little commuter shuttle, but they took longer, got me to work at a weird time, and seemed to cost more. It wasn’t convenient enough to do all the time.
Eventually I looked around the company and realized that all of us were spending the best waking hours of our lives in that office. It seemed like the more years someone had at the company, the more hours of their lives they spent there and the sicker they looked. That irony was not lost on me. I did not want to follow in the example of my elders. I wanted different role models. So I left.
My next job had me closer to home and commuting at off hours. I took my part-time hobby job of teaching aerobics and grew it into a job that fully supported me. Besides for the shorter commutes, that job offered the advantages of helping me stay in shape and paving the way for me to become a yoga teacher.
Being a yoga teacher turned into a true vocation and lead me all over the world to trainings and retreats. Once I was ready to settle down again, I looked for a place where I wouldn’t have to commute in my car. I settled on Boulder, CO. They have wonderful bike paths there and I was able to get nearly anywhere I wanted to go on bike paths and bike lanes. With about 300 sunny days, Boulder is a bikers dream town. Bike commuting is a great alternative to car commuting. It can help you stay fit, get fresh air, and arrive at your destination refreshed from whatever you were doing before you left. It is a very good reset and attitude adjustment. In fact it’s so good that the only thing I recommend more is…
Ditching the Commute
You can work from home and forgo the commute altogether. With high speed internet and a service or product to offer, you can find ways to make money without leaving your home office.
The side benefits are numerous. Here are my top five.
- Less time in the car = more time to do what you want. Not enough time with your family? Want to play more with your friends? Want more sleep? What you do with those hours you used to spend commuting is up to you. Enjoy the freedom.
- Reduce Your Contribution to Global Warming. A cooler climate starts with small changes by individuals. Choosing to stay home is one of those changes.
- Do exactly what you want to do. When you work from home you can work for yourself and create your own job. I’m creating my dream job of helping parents heal their own childhood wounds so they do not pass them on to their children at ParentCoaching.org. You can create your dream job too.
- Learn. Stretch. Grow. The path to creating successful work from home will likely teach you a lot about yourself. When the responsibility starts and stops with you, there is no one else to blame. No personal growth workshop or seminar has taught me as much as I’ve learned from starting my own parent coaching business.
- Pick the People Around You. One of the stresses of being in an office can be the people you’re with. Catching everyone’s cold is less likely when you work from home. You can pick who’s in your home and enjoy spending more time with them.
There are also challenges to working from home. If you have an established job that you like, you may need to be creative to find ways to make it work at home. Plenty of employers are implementing flexible work schedules and allowing employees at least one day a week to work from home. If nothing like that exists currently in your company, you can be the first one to advocate for it and show that it works. One advantage for the company is a lower overhead for building space, if they can have a consistent percentage of their workforce that does not need their own physical space in the building.
Another challenge can be setting good boundaries. When my children are nearby, it is hard to figure out when to ignore their needs and keep working and when to be flexible about my work schedule and take time to play. Every day is a negotiation. If you want utter predictability, working from home might be unnecessarily challenging. For tips on setting good boundaries while working from home, read more.
Are you considering working from home? Are you already a seasoned pro? Please share your insights and questions with us. Together, we can change the face of modern business to make it more human, more environmentally friendly, and more fun.
Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640