Telecommuting, or working outside of a conventional office setting, is steadily growing in popularity among American professionals. Of the many reasons for this growth in popularity, the most important one is that telecommuting saves workers and businesses money. If you work from home, you should consider these strategies for saving money while telecommuting.
Don't Drive As Much
There are some obvious, direct ways that telecommuting will save you money. One of the main advantages of telecommuting is that there's no actual commute. Telecommuting saves workers money on gas and car maintenance. Estimates of the amount of time Americans spend commuting range from an hour to an hour and a half each day which means that by telecommuting, workers can save over $1000 a year on gas alone. Additionally, when workers do not use their cars for daily commutes, they depreciate slower and require less maintenance which further saves money.
Don't Dress Up (Unless You Want To)
The daily commute is not the only place where telecommuting directly saves workers money. By working from home, the average worker can save hundreds of dollars per year on clothing. It depends on the worker's specific approach to working from home, but telecommuting can eliminate the need for an expensive professional wardrobe and constant dry cleaning. It is a good idea to keep some professional clothing on hand for video conferencing or in-person meetings because you still want to present a professional appearance. Some experts advise dressing up if only to put yourself in the proper frame of mind for work. Not everybody needs to do this, though, and you should use your best judgment about whether or not it is necessary for you.
Make Health a Priority
Save money and feel better working from home by planning out healthy meals and scheduling time for regular exercise. Avoiding a daily commute and working from home already significantly reduces the levels of stress that people experience which can lead to sickness. Not only do improved health and reduced stress potentially minimize the number of sick days you might need to take, but they also contribute to feeling more energetic and motivated thereby increasing your productivity.
Make Use of Technology and Services
Educate yourself on the various technologies and services that are designed to save telecommuters money. Many people who work from home are also using virtual offices or coworking spaces, which provide all of the necessary professional amenities. In doing so, they can save money without sacrificing the functionality they'd have in a conventional office setting. Additionally, there's a lot of great technology available to help you, from time management software to online collaboration tools. What technology you use depends on your position and your industry, but there are some tools like Google Drive or Google Calendar that just about everyone can benefit from.
Set a Schedule
Discipline can be a problem for telecommuters and, while it might not directly cost you money, it can cost time. The freedom afforded by telecommuting can cause some workers to over-work while it causes others to procrastinate. One possible solution for this is to set a schedule of working hours and stick to it. Alternatively, if you prefer to avoid strict working hours, it can be beneficial to set daily tasks instead. Keeping to a schedule or a list of daily tasks will prevent you from overworking or underperforming, whichever you might be more inclined to do. Knowing yourself and your level of discipline will help you create a working environment at home that works for you and your employer.