I have worked from home off and on for a variety of employers since 2007. My first assignment was running a political website for a Washington D.C.-based company during the New Hampshire primary season, then I started “stringing” for news organizations like the Associated Press and the Portsmouth Herald. In 2009, I had had enough of the freelance life and took an office position in Manchester. There I stayed until about a year ago, when I had my first child and decided working from home was where I wanted to be.
Working from home is something many New Hampshire companies embrace, whether it’s full-time, one day a week or just once in a while. I’ve found that some companies prefer to have me work independently from home, especially after I prove I can meet their deadline, or at the very least are willing to discuss how working from home can be incorporated into my office job role.
If working from home is something you want to ask your boss about, I say go for it. Just remember, it is not for everyone, especially those who need to feel the boss is watching to get stuff done. But if you are deadline driven and organized, working from home has major advantages. Here are a few:
1. You can go to work barefoot.
When I graduated from college, it seemed like half of my class landed jobs where one of the perks was “working in your PJs” from home. I’ve definitely done that in my years as a work-from-homer, but I find that I’m most productive when I start my day the same way I would if I had an office job, with a shower, breakfast and getting dressed. I do appreciate, however, that the dress code is pretty liberal when you work from home. I haven’t put on a pair of dress pants since 2012 and I’m happy to keep it that way.
2. You can do laundry on the job.
One of my biggest work from home distractions lately has been house work. Instead of writing a report on marketing strategy, I’m scrubbing the oven. I am fully aware I’m taking things too far. However, working from home does allow you to get caught up on a few things that can fall by the wayside during a busy work week. During a coffee break you can toss in a load of laundry. After lunch do those dishes from the night before. It’s just good multi-tasking, that’s all.
3. The cafeteria is great.
One of the things I hate most about working in an office is bringing in my lunch. Either I forget to make a lunch and end up scrambling during my 30-minute break to wolf down some guilt-ridden fast food or I forget to put my yogurt in the fridge and it turns all lumpy and flavorless. The employee fridge is a whole other problem. It’s so cramped you have to eat half your lunch before it will fit and the mysterious mold growing in the back corner is enough to scare even the most seasoned janitor.
Working from home, I always get exactly what I want for lunch. It’s usually healthy, fresh and pretty tasty. It’s also fast and not far from the couch and TV.
4. I make my own hours.
In general, working from home is much like working in an office. There are scheduled conference calls and deadlines that need to be met. You are often expected to be somewhere near your computer, albeit at home, during regular business hours. But there are also many assignments that can be completed at any time. I’ve done work at 8 p.m. on a Sunday or at 7 a.m. on a Monday. As long as I get the project done by deadline, my bosses don’t really care when the work is done.
5. It’s a tax write off.
I am not going to give you concrete tax advice you can follow during tax return time, but I will tell you that any area specifically designated as a home office for your regular job can be a tax deduction, as can any office supplies, a phone or electronic device you buy specifically for work. This does not mean because you called work on your iPhone while working from home it’s a write off, but there are some ways to reduce your tax burden if working from home is a regular part of your job. Go to www.irs.gov come tax time and look up the rules. I am always surprised by home much I save doing this.