How Telecommuting Can Save You Money (and Help the Environment)

Many of us like the idea of working from home. I have my own freelancing business, so working from home comes with the territory. However, you don’t have to be self-employed in order to work from home. An increasing number of companies are allowing workers to telecommute — at least some of the time. So, even if you work for someone else, there is a chance that you can telecommute between one and three days a week, even if you have to go in to the office sometimes.

Telecommuting isn’t just about working in your pajamas some days (although that is one of the things I enjoy about working from home). It can also save you money, and help the environment.

How Telecommuting Saves You Money

Working from your home office can save you money in a number of ways. One of the biggest savings comes from the commute, however. Instead of paying fuel costs, or public transport fare, you just walk into your home office. This is a great way to save money on the costs of commuting. Depending on how often you are allowed to telecommute, the savings could really start to add up. But there are other ways to save while telecommuting:

  • Temptation to buy lunch is reduced; you can just make your own with items you have on hand at home.
  • You need fewer professional outfits, since you aren’t going in as often. Your clothing budget can be stretched as you wear fewer clothes, and the clothes you do wear last longer (not as much laundering).
  • Some of the items you buy for your home office are tax deductible.

It’s also possible that telecommuting could make you more productive. This means that you get more done for your time, using it more efficiently. This can be a selling point if you are looking for a raise or a promotion.

Even your employer can benefit. Overhead costs related to the power you use, as well as the space you require, are reduced when you telecommute. If you telecommute four or five days a week, the potential savings for employers goes up, since they can require you to use your own computer, and there is no need to buy office equipment for you. On top of that, recent studies indicate that telecommuters are happier overall, resulting in more job satisfaction and less turnover.

Help the Environment by Telecommuting

So, how does telecommuting help the environment? It’s all about the transportation. If you aren’t driving in to work, you aren’t contributing to pollution. And that’s a good thing. This is especially true since it’s hard to choose your travel time wisely when you have to go in to work at the same time as everyone else. You end up idling in traffic, sending more environment-harming pollutants into the air — not to mention spending more money on gas.

Many jobs today are compatible with the idea of telecommuting at least one or two days a week. In some cases, you might be able to work almost exclusively from home. If you want to telecommute, bring it up with your boss. There are advantages to the bottom line, as well as to the environment.

What are your experiences telecommuting?

21 comments to How Telecommuting Can Save You Money (and Help the Environment)

  • Telecommuting is great financially, but I don’t like it personally. It’s nice to have a separation between work and home. In the event that I’m self employed in the future, I will pay for office space if feasible. Co-working space is very cheap.

  • Definitely a great option I am all for! I work 4 ten-hour days, so it’s essentially the same thing. Our agency has a telecommuting program…but for some reason they are not allowing others to sign up (for over a year now!). Interestingly enough, I work for an environmental agency! So you would think they would be all over that.

  • I work within walking distance of home, so I may not be the most qualified to comment. However, I still notice a huge productivity increase and stress decrease by telecommuting. I wouldn’t want to do it full time, but it’s great for a change.

  • I love working from home. I did it as a contract worker a few summers ago and last summer I did it for the job I’m currently in. I’d like to go back to telecommuting a few days a week in the future but its not feasible right now.

  • Kim

    I telecommuted with my previous employer 2 days a week for several years, and got SO much more accomplished on those days. Subsequently I started a business and have been working out of my home for 7 years. I love it, and hope to never have to return to an office setting again!

  • I have wanted to telecommute for a long time, but working for the Marine Corps, I so far have not been able to swing it. Perhaps with my upcoming change in career…

    I have loved your blog for a long time. It is really excellent. I haven’t left a lot of comments lately, but I’ve been around. If you ever want to guest post on Urban Earthworm, I would be really thrilled to have you.

  • You make a good point, W. Some people prefer to have that definite separation. But, for some of us, it’s the way to go. And, in some cases, like Brian points out, it can add a nice change of routine. In the end, you ultimately have to do what works best for you.

  • Telecommuting is wonderful. I wish that more jobs offered it. I know that not everyone has the personality to get more done at home, but I for one have more trouble focusing at work with more people around. I would work really well if I were able to be at home, especially since I could take little walks between tasks to get my brain working again (without getting the stink eye from my coworkers).

  • To telecommute succesfully you need to seperate work and home. Computer and work area should be in a distinct area that can be closed off when work is over. And one needs discipline to be able to turn work off. Otherwise, work will distract you from your home life, and your home life will distract you from your work.

    In addition to the mentioned benefits, telecommuting offers huge benefits in terms of flexibility. Get up at 5 and work til 7. Get the kids off to school, work another few hours. Take an hour and a half in the afternoon to cut the lawn. Put another hour in after the kids are in bed or on the weekend. It completely changes your life flow and reduces stress. Plus the extra hour or two you get when you remove the commute. 5:00? No 1/2 hour commute, You’re already home.

  • I’ve been working from home for 6 months now for my latest employer and I do like it most of the time. You can feel a bit disconnected as you don’t get to interact with others as much as if you were in the office and that can really effect some people’s mood, especially if they are a people person.

    Most days I feel like I’m more productive at home than I would be in an office setting but there are also those days where distractions creep up that wouldn’t be there if I were in an office.

    It’s like anything, there are pros and cons but it definitely does save some money and is good for the environment as you say!

  • I know that I wish telecommuting was more popular. It would save companies more money in reimbursements and, as you said, protect the environment. I wonder what the progression towards implementing it will be like in the next 5 years.

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