I recently spoke with Tome, a former coworker, who now works from home for an accounting firm. Tome delighted in telling me how his life has changed for the better since he opted for a work-at-home position with his company. When company execs first announced they were offering telecommuting positions to streamline office overhead, Tome was not interested. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to concentrate at home,” Tome explained. “I have always been the type who needed a lot of structure to get things done. I was also afraid that I would get tired of being cooped up in the house, you know cabin fever.”
Despite his reservations, Tome did give telecommuting a try. When he learned he would have 30 days to try out the new spot, he figured there was nothing to lose. Tome’s supervisor promised he could get his cubicle back if working from home did not fit well with his temperament. Seven months later you could not pry Tome out of his work at home spot, his comfy sweat pants and well-worn slippers.
“I never knew how much stress I was piling on just getting to and from the office. Maneuvering in heavy traffic each day is a recipe for high blood pressure. I don’t know how I did it for so long without ending up in the hospital,” Tome added with amazement.
My friend is one of millions who have gotten off the subway, the train, the bus and the highway in favor of taking the road less traveled— the road to the home-based office.
According to one recent study, approximately 2.5 million people work from home. If you include the independent contractors with a home-based outfit, the number of adults in the U.S. who can literally walk to work within minutes could be more than 40 million.
Why the jump in the yen for a virtual office? According to one analyst there are roughly 75 million Internet inquiries worldwide for work at home jobs every month. Experts say the benefits are unmatched. In addition to reducing stress and increasing quality family time, the home-based office can decrease your tax bill, save money on transportation expenses, provide the freedom to complete additional assignments, boost productivity and help reduce the greenhouse effect nationwide. One recent report states that 28 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to transportation. Employers are also finding benefits in telecommuting. Many are able to slash overhead by shifting more employees to a virtual office.
Work-at-home status is no longer the domain of real estate agents and insurance sales people. Accountants, instructors, computer technicians, journalists, architects, customer care representatives and advertising agents can now be found happily brewing their favorite herb tea while filing a status report or resolving problems for consumers from a comfy, supportive home based environment.
Do you work from home? How do you like it compared to working in an office? Tell us about it in the comments or tweet me @arj1981.