Working from home is the dream for many moms.
The obvious benefits are great! More family time, more flexibility and less stressful time spent in commuting or worrying about your kids. You can be there when your kids need you, and still earn that income your family needs. I’ve worked from home for over 10 years now, and I can’t imagine living any other way. But there have been some unexpected benefits of working from home that I’ve truly come to appreciate.
Unexpected benefit #1: Eating better
Since I’m at home all the time, I actually eat better than if I were working outside the home. I’m not tempted to grab fast food on a lunch break, or go for the sugar high at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. There’s no office snacks or candy to sample.
Instead, as long as I stock my kitchen right, I can reach for the fruit instead of the donuts. And since I’m the only one making it, it’s easier to resist drinking too much coffee (though I’m still too much of a caffeine addict!). And I can get hot, home cooked meals every day, without worrying about anyone stealing my food!
Unexpected benefit #2: Learning better time management skills
There’s something about not having that natural start and stop time that working a job gives you, to force you to be responsible for yourself. I have to be self-motivated, self-disciplined, and focused. I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck or sending me reminders and requests for work completed to keep me on track.
So i have to do it myself!
Because I work from home, sometimes the boundaries between work and home blur. That can be a good thing, because I can involve my children in my work. I can model to them what it means to work hard and to be ambitious. But sometimes that means that I have a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in!
Working from home means I have to budget my time carefully. I can easily devote myself to work projects and lose sight of my family, or fritter away my time on household tasks, without getting any work done. I have learned how to be proactive and plan my days, so that I can get everything done that I need to get done. Almost.
Unexpected benefit #3: More exposure to sunlight.
When you work at an office, factory, store or restaurant, you spend a lot of time under artificial lights. And not a lot of time exposed to natural light. In my part of the world, this can lead to health problems! A lack of natural light can contribute to mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, and physical health problems like vitamin D deficiencies, high cholesterol or heart disease.
Because I work from home, I can keep my office mobile. I have a lovely gazebo set outside and I often spend the nice weather working outdoors. Or I’ll take my laptop and mobile phone, and the kids and I will hit a park. I’ll work on projects sitting in the sun, while they get some fresh air too.
And it’s easier to take breaks when you work at home, and get that sun vitamin. After all, I don’t have to run down flights of stairs or wait for crowded elevators, only to hit a shadowed street. Even when I look out my window, I can view my gardens and lawns, not parking garages or dumpsters!
Just because I work from home in a house with a yard, doesn’t mean that apartment dwellers can’t take advantage of natural light. Most apartments have balconies, so there’s no excuse to get sun frequently! And there’s still the ability to take your office to the park. Getting all that natural light is one of my most appreciated but unlooked-for benefit of working from home.
Unexpected benefit #4: More creative thinking opportunities
Work cultures can often be stagnant. Offices will do things one way, and resist any other way, because that’s the way things have always been done. And that makes it hard to make any changes, even if they are needed!
Working from home means I can problem solve creatively. I can try new ways of doing things, and the only resistance might be my own resistance to change. I don’t have to convince anyone but myself as to why I should try something new.
I also don’t have the same access to supplies or equipment that a traditional job might give me. Big corporations provide the tools and supplies their employees need to do their jobs. The employees don’t have to worry about the impact on the bottom line that investing in that new program or technology might have (unless that is their job!)
I do have to be concerned about the impact on my profit. So I will get creative on making my supplies stretch, or reusing things and reducing waste. That not only helps my bottom line, but also gives me more opportunity to practice creative thinking.
Unexpected benefit #5: Spontaneous Adventures!
This has been one of my favorite things about working from home. I’m not restricted to traditional hours of work! That means that if I want to, I can rearrange my schedule quickly, and hop in my van with my kids for ice cream on a nice summer day. Or go explore a museum. We can go see a friend for a playdate last minute. And we can go down rabbit trails of questions and answers, without interruption.
I have the control over my day, and that gives me a lot of flexibility. That flexibility is one of the reasons I work from home, and I don’t ever want to give that up! I love being able to just make a quick change to my day in a few minutes.
Working from home has a ton of benefits.
There are so many reasons to work from home! Some are obvious, like saving money on daycare, or not having to deal with annoying coworkers. But there are a few hidden gems to working from home too. Working from home has been better for my health, for my relationships, and for my income.
If you work from home, what are your favorite benefits?
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