As far as I know, my boss isn’t chomping at the bit to give me a 10K raise or more work from home (WFH) days, but given the option I’d say no to the cash and yes to the WFH time.
A little search of Mr. Google revealed this dismal little factoid.
Given that my commute is about an hour each way (give or take 15 mins depending on traffic) I could actually spend an extra two to three weeks on vacation for the about of time I spend commuting in a year. Pause for a moment while I let that settle in…. ouch.
Not only am I spending potential beach time on the highway, apparently commuters suffer all kinds of health issues (not surprisingly) such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and depression. We also have shittier marriages, thus higher divorce rates and our kids are more likely to have emotional problems. Awesome! Thank God I don’t have kids.
Oh, and as if that isn’t bad enough, commuters are apparently less likely to vote (except me). Given the political circus we’re living in here in the US, this one stings the most right now.
The Life-changing Magic of Working from Home.
I do get the freedom to work from home occasionally. It’s a privilege I try not to overuse for fear of having it taken away. But on those days where I do work from home, here’s what happens:
- I get an extra hour sleep. I wake up at 7:15 rather than the typical 6:15. This makes my brain work better, my creativity a little more active and I’m a whole lot happier to be around. Another bonus – the more you sleep, the less you eat (especially the bad stuff).
- I get to journal in my jammies. Okay, you may not see this as a huge life bonus, but I do!! I love taking my morning coffee upstairs and getting back into bed to hand write three rambling “morning pages”. I sort SO much mental clutter out this way and what I can get out on paper saves emotional tax in rumination (something I’m really good at).
- I workout early. I still carve out time to workout when I get home when I commute to work. I’m kinda religious about this, but working out in the AM has a ton of extra fat burning benefits and it’s just better to get it out of the way!
- I am more productive with writing projects. My job is 90% writing and that’s a hard task when you’re sitting in a cubicle with people talking around you. I literally have to stick my fingers in my ears to hear myself think. At home, I can write uninterrupted in my quiet office with only the sounds of a snoring pug nearby (which is awesome).
- I eat better. I generally bring my lunch to work anyway, so it’s not a cost savings, but it’s just nicer to eat freshly prepared food on a real plate and not Tupperware.
- I work longer. I don’t take a lunch break (rarely do at the office, either) and I’ll work a bit later. On the days that I commute in, I aim to leave by 4:45 to get in front of the 5pm onslaught of commuters. When at home, I’ll knock off around 5:30, but still start at 8am.
- I don’t have to get “dressed”. I’m WAY more creative and a happier human being overall wearing yoga pants and flip-flops. It feels like me. Clothes with zippers and buttons….. not so much.
- I’m more inspired to cook. Those days where we resort to takeout sushi is generally a result of having the life slowly sucked out of me on my commute home. It’s exhausting. If I’m home, I take salmon out of the freezer and whip up something healthy.
- I have more energy. Read above note about having life sucked out of self on highway. It really does drain me.
- My dogs love it. We have a dog walker that comes 4 days a week, regardless if I’m home or not only because those days can shift and change dramatically. But my dogs love hanging with me and that feeling is mutual. Any time spent with my critters is time very well spent in my books.
But is it worth $10,000 in extra pay?
Oh, hell yes. First off, the realized benefit of that 10K is actually only about $6,500 (or less) after taxes. If it’s one extra day a week, that’s a savings of:
62 miles a week x 50 weeks = 3,100 miles
3,100 miles x $.535 (standard mileage expense) = $1,658.50 in saved car expense
That brings us down to around $5,000.
Now given that a single day working from home saves me 3 hours in commute and getting ready time (don’t judge) x 50 weeks = 150 saved hours annually.
If we divide that into our $5,000 extra income that’s $33 per hour.
I know that seems like a lot of money to some (and it’s nothing to sneeze at for me), but frankly, my time spent doing all the things I just listed is worth more than an additional $33 per hour for 150 hours throughout the year, not to mention my health and happiness.
This is a number we all have to come up with on our own, but I’m pretty sure there’s nothing short of an additional $40K per year that would make me want to commute more day a week into the office.
What about you? Would you grab the additional cash and suck up the commute?