Author Topic: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME  (Read 7300 times)

flan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1919
  • Location: Texas
Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« on: November 17, 2015, 08:29:57 AM »
One of the central themes around Mustachianism is decreasing expenses, especially those surrounding day-to-day activities such as going to work. Thus, working from home tends to be touted as a magnificent option due to typically being able to reduce expenses associated with commuting, work attire, location of home, and work-encouraged-spending (e.g. work lunches).

However, working from home isn't for everyone, and comes with its own set of benefits and downfalls. I wanted to start a thread so that people who current work from home, or are contemplating working from home, will have a thread to ask each other questions and generate ideas for how to make the best of working from home.

I'll start!

Benefits
  • No, or very low, commuting costs, no traffic.
  • Never have to worry about bringing lunch/coffee/snacks.
  • Home office tax deduction, most likely!
  • More autonomy.
  • Available to sign for packages, be home for repairs, etc.
  • Productive lunch breaks e.g. groceries, going to the post office, etc.

Potential downfalls
  • Need to "prove" that one is actually working the whole time.
  • It gets lonely.
  • When you break your work laptop.... you are completely SOL (what prompted me to start this thread, actually).
  • Sometimes you cost more to the company due to home office expenses + mandatory travel back to HQ.
  • Miss out on coworker interactions, if you were into that kind of thing.

Tips
  • Keep your home office separate from your living space, so you can "leave work at work".
  • Walk outside sometimes, because you can.
  • Since most likely you're staring at a computer all day, actively rest your eyes!
  • If you're not doing this already, definitely consider that home office tax deduction! The IRS just made it a simpler calculation.

chubbybunny

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Location: Georgia
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2015, 09:05:49 AM »
I've been a full time telecommuter since 2006.  I'll add to your list, though some of mine fit in both categories!

Benefits
Ability to care for (older) children out of school without losing all your vacation time. 
Access to your full kitchen for lunch.  "grilled cheese!  yum!"
Ability to have quiet time when you need it (turn off phone).
Ability to go outside and get some sun and exercise when you need it.

Downfalls
No free lunches/free coffee from work (those darn emails telling everyone to help themselves to BBQ in the breakroom)
Access to your full kitchen for lunch.  "Ooh, leftover cake..." (working from home has not helped me lose weight)
Having to make more of an effort to get steps in during the day (too easy to just sit and work)
You are forgotten about when it comes time for promotions.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2200
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2015, 10:32:09 AM »
I've worked from home (at least partially) since 2010. I see every week how much more I get done on my home days rather than office days.

Another downfall is that it is so difficult to go from working at home under a boss that trusts you and reviews your outputs to work in an office where you need to sit in a chair regardless of home much work you have on.

Also, I constantly need to remind my friends/family that working from home is not the same as 'every day is the weekend but I have my laptop on'. I've had people drop in an expect a lunch or to be entertained for the afternoon - it doesn't work like that. Yes, I can do the washing up or laundry during a break, no I can't paint an entire room. 

A benefit is that you can get more out of vacation days by working from a remote location or on travel days. It's a lot easier to exercise, no one cares what you look like, I can drink the coffee I like rather than the stuff in the office.

Schaefer Light

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 997
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2015, 12:51:52 PM »

Potential downfalls
  • Need to "prove" that one is actually working the whole time.

Question - why does a person have to prove that he's working when he's telecommuting but there seems to be no such burden on someone who's in the office?  The implication here is that it's okay to sit around and do nothing all day when you're in the office.  It's like companies don't even think about this stuff until someone asks if they can work from home.  Then all of a sudden they want to know exactly what you're doing all the time.  Personally, I think the problem is that most companies have no idea how to judge the productivity of their workers.

flan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1919
  • Location: Texas
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2015, 01:08:21 PM »
Downfalls
No free lunches/free coffee from work (those darn emails telling everyone to help themselves to BBQ in the breakroom)
Access to your full kitchen for lunch.  "Ooh, leftover cake..." (working from home has not helped me lose weight)
Having to make more of an effort to get steps in during the day (too easy to just sit and work)
You are forgotten about when it comes time for promotions.

suzanny - this is definitely what I wanted when I made this post - finally others who understand my complainypants complaints about difficulties of WFH ;) I've definitely gained a couple of pounds despite eating out LESS and never buying coffee. And we don't even get to eat those office birthday cakes! I also definitely stopped wearing my fitness band once I started WFH just because the step counts were too depressing....
 


Question - why does a person have to prove that he's working when he's telecommuting but there seems to be no such burden on someone who's in the office?  The implication here is that it's okay to sit around and do nothing all day when you're in the office.  It's like companies don't even think about this stuff until someone asks if they can work from home.  Then all of a sudden they want to know exactly what you're doing all the time.  Personally, I think the problem is that most companies have no idea how to judge the productivity of their workers.

Schaefer - Honestly I think it's probably an issue of control. If an employee is in the building, it "feels" like it's easy to pop over and make sure they're doing work in their office/cubicle/space. But if someone's at home, I feel like there's a stigma that 1. that person is working from home in order to slack and 2. now that person isn't within the physical confines of the employer's reach. Now a supervisor/manager can't just pop over and see if that person is actually doing work or not.

Money Mouse

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
  • Location: IL
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, 02:33:58 PM »
I've been working from home full time since 2007.

Another "negative" is that you still need daycare for young children. I had to put my daughter into full time daycare at 3 months old (when my maternity leave was up) because I can't care for an infant and do my job. Even if I was so inclined, it's not fair to my child or my employer. So $800 goes up in smoke each month until she is in full day kindergarten. 

Also "out of sight, out of mind". I've been home so long I'm a bit out of the loop at the office, and people that don't need to work directly with my division often don't even know who I am. For me that's not a big deal, I have no room for advancement unless and until my boss retires (about 3-5  more years). My whole division works from home FT so we'll all be equal footing when we fight over apply for her position.  But for people looking to advance, it's a real concern.

Oh, yeah..and I totally agree about the cake in the kitchen...

The positives totally outweigh the negatives, but it's not perfect situation either.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 05:54:43 PM by Money Mouse »
"It's not that we can't afford it, it's that we choose not to." - Mom and Dad

Uturn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 609
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Holly Springs, NC
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 02:56:56 PM »
In my previous job, I worked from home on Friday's due to my obscene commute.  It was nice and I got more done than when in the office, but other office workers would often mention how nice it must be to only work 4 days a week.  I also missed out of some impromptu meetings that I should have been involved in.

New job is 100% WFH.  However, most of the company is.  Only about 10% work in an office. 

Pro:  that damn commute is gone!!!
95% of the time my car is running, I'm getting $.57/mile
I can walk around the neighborhood any time of day
I can use my smoker more than just weekends

Con:  Where did all my human interactions go?  I'm single and the cat sleeps all day
I don't get up and walk as much as I should
Family wants me to come over and do (insert favor here) because "I don't have a job"
HVAC runs more
It's not about money, it's about mindset

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7787
  • Registered member
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 03:25:41 PM »
Con: Electric and heating bills -- depends on how Mustachian you are, I guess, but when I stay home it costs me money in heating and/or electricity (since my commute is basically free -- only eats up my time).

NoraLenderbee

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1233
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2015, 05:04:18 PM »
I work from home one day per week. At one time, I worked at home full-time doing freelance work. My experience:

Pros:
My commute isn't bad, but it is SO much better not to commute at all.
Without all the noise and distractions of an office, I can be very productive without getting stressed.
I can wear comfy fleece socks (or a tank top and shorts).
Cat, husband, etc.

Cons:
I'm home all day, and then I'm home all night, and then I'm home all day, and then I'm home all night, and then I'm . . .
No social interaction (might not be a problem for more outgoing people).
Forget to get dressed, shower, etc.
Cat demands attention, lies on my laptop, messes up my papers
I love my husband but sometimes I need a break from 24-7 togetherness
Office noise replaced by constant lawnmowers and leafblowers
What's for lunch? Exactly the same thing every single day

Bearded Man

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2015, 05:38:23 PM »
I've been a full time telecommuter since 2006.  I'll add to your list, though some of mine fit in both categories!

Benefits
Ability to care for (older) children out of school without losing all your vacation time. 
Access to your full kitchen for lunch.  "grilled cheese!  yum!"
Ability to have quiet time when you need it (turn off phone).
Ability to go outside and get some sun and exercise when you need it.

Downfalls
No free lunches/free coffee from work (those darn emails telling everyone to help themselves to BBQ in the breakroom)
Access to your full kitchen for lunch.  "Ooh, leftover cake..." (working from home has not helped me lose weight)
Having to make more of an effort to get steps in during the day (too easy to just sit and work)
You are forgotten about when it comes time for promotions.

I  can attest to all of these, especially the last one. I've noticed since I stopped going to the office consistently 6 months ago, I've really fallen off the radar. I'm the only remote employee on my team and it's like I've stopped existing unless they need something. That said, I'm much less stressed out working from home. Get to avoid sooo much of the office drama.

madgeylou

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2109
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2015, 05:42:27 PM »
i have worked from home at a couple of jobs, and i love it.

in my opinion, it's like 90% pros: i can work on the couch or standing at the counter or at the coffee shop up the street. i can take a walk in the middle of the day, just bring my phone in case i get a call or email. i can have a pot of soup simmering while i'm working. i can pee during a conference call! i avoid everyone bitching about everything all day long!

the only con is that it seems like work gets done more quickly and efficiently when everyone is in the same office, having conversations and bringing each other in as needed. but that ship has sailed at my company -- our development team is mostly in india, so even if you work in one of the US offices, sometimes you still need to wait till the next day for an answer.

Jtrey17

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2015, 06:41:39 PM »
I have Wah since April and I love it! No commute, no buying lunch, coffee, bake sale, book sale, gs
cookies. I wear a pedometer to make sure that I get 10,000 steps a day. It's great. I volunteer more to get out with people.

Uturn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 609
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Holly Springs, NC
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2015, 06:55:09 PM »
I volunteer more to get out with people.

Funny you should mention this.  I just signed up and finished the training to volunteer mentor folks transitioning from incarceration. 
It's not about money, it's about mindset

FloridaDad

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2015, 08:18:09 PM »
I am in the IT field and currently have about a 70 minute commute one-way. I am looking to move into a telecommute position, but I am having trouble finding opportunities.

If anyone has a list of websites, companies, etc. that hire telecommuters, I would be greatly interested. I have done many things over my IT career, Project Management would be my strong suit.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!!
FloridaDad

revisednut

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Buffalo, NY
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2015, 08:27:51 PM »
I've worked from home FT since 2012.  I'm salary, and my employer is fairly demanding with work load.  I find I actually work MORE from home than I did in the office.  I find myself on the computer checking/responding to e-mails and doing "quick" updates on our system of record (finance field) from 7am-8, or 9pm daily.  I try to limit my day to 8am-6:30pm, but alas, I've yet to bring myself to, particularly as we have a larger client on the West Coast.  I'll certainly have to look into claiming the home office deduction this year. (I have a dedicated bedroom used as the office).  As others have noted, commuting costs/apparel/step count/food have all decreased dramatically.

bigstack

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 80
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2015, 08:29:22 PM »
my experience is that bosses go from perception of work(butts in chairs) to results oriented very quickly when employees work from home. thus I am rewarded for getting my tasks done with more free time. I do project based work and do heavy interaction with client management. if i keep them happy then my boss doesn't care if I am playing golf 4 times a week.(i volunteer at a course for free play)

JoeBlow

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2015, 09:37:52 PM »
I am usually able to WFH when I want to.  There is one person on my team that is full-time WFH and others I know of in other groups.  I plan to transition to full-time WFH when I am about 2-3 years out from retiring.  Before I do that, I definitely need to make a dedicated work area for it.  My current setup isn't ideal for WFH.

UrbanDweller

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2015, 01:53:36 AM »
Pros:

- No bullshit. When I've finished working, I've finished working. I don't have to adhere to any stupid rules about what I can wear or what time I can have lunch.
- Less interaction with co-workers. Some have put this as a con but as an introvert who has had some annoying co-workers...
- Easier to do housework. Need a break? Spend five minutes doing some washing up. Making a casserole? You're home to prep mid-afternoon.
- Your schedule can suit you. Work from 7am to 3pm then pick the children up from school and take the rest of the day off.

Cons:
- You have to be disciplined. No internetting all day, no finishing that great book you started last night.
- The major con for me is that it can be really hard to make people understand that even though you are at home, you are WORKING. It's so easy to get drawn into cups of tea or conversations and they are all confused and offended when you say you have to work.

StetsTerhune

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2015, 06:46:51 AM »
I've worked remotely for a little over a year (remotely, not from home, I don't have a home)

Pros: I can get my job done in 2-3 hours per day.
I can live where ever I want. If, for example, I wanted to live on the beach in the summer and on a ski resort in the winter, I could do that. And I do.
The logistics of life are just so much easier now. Cheap food, easier to work out, easier to do most everything.

Cons: Have to be signed in and 8 hours per day. But on the plus side, I'm typing this from bed, having woken up 10 minutes ago. I've also been known to go for walks, drives, errands with my laptop in my backpack, speaker on high in case anyone IMs or emails.
Still have to F*ing work. I give my best 3 hours of effort most days to my job.

Neutrals:
Less interaction with co-workers. I miss it sometimes, but it saves a ton of stress.
Limited (at least at my company) to non-management. I'm at a job-grade now where most people are managers, and I'm not sure I can get promoted with managing people. That said, I don't particularly want to manage people, and I'm out the door before a promotion would happen anyway.
Very difficult to stay engaged with work. But why should I care, right? I get my work done, though it's definitely more in the bare minimum category than it once was. Not sure how much of this is WFH and how much of it is being close to retirement.


firelight

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1234
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2018, 11:44:01 AM »
Great thread. Need help valuing a perk. My current company offers organic free food (breakfast, lunch, dinner if you are ok with bare bones stuff, snacks, drinks, etc) and I consider it a big perk since I don't have to pack food daily and sometimes bring something home so I don't have to cook dinner. Saves me $4-$5 daily and atleast half an hour of effort and time. I have another offer which is WFH most of the time for lesser salary. Kids would be in daycare and most other costs won't change (commute isn't bad and I'll still have two cars, one for me and one for DH). The advantage is we'll have more slightly time if I WFH. How much would you cost the free food perk?

Virtus3

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2018, 12:03:15 PM »
Great thread. Need help valuing a perk. My current company offers organic free food (breakfast, lunch, dinner if you are ok with bare bones stuff, snacks, drinks, etc) and I consider it a big perk since I don't have to pack food daily and sometimes bring something home so I don't have to cook dinner. Saves me $4-$5 daily and atleast half an hour of effort and time. I have another offer which is WFH most of the time for lesser salary. Kids would be in daycare and most other costs won't change (commute isn't bad and I'll still have two cars, one for me and one for DH). The advantage is we'll have more slightly time if I WFH. How much would you cost the free food perk?

If you figure roughly 240 working days per year at $4-5 dollars a day that would give you somewhere between $1000-1200. The 30 minutes of time it saved you would most likely be more than evened out by not having a commute.

Not sure what your specifics are but that doesn't seem like enough to let it sway your decision too much either way.

SC93

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 618
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2018, 12:09:38 PM »
It's a lot like working for yourself. As a poster said above, people think it's party time all day since I work for myself and am home most of the day but you must be disciplined and stay off the internet.... I better get off right now.... or else your whole day can quickly be eaten away. You have to set your schedule and start at a certain time every day or else you will keep putting it off just 10 more minutes. That's one of the harder parts for me anyway and I haven't had a 'job' since the mid 90's.... I had hoped it would get easier but it hasn't.

flan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1919
  • Location: Texas
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2018, 01:15:13 PM »
Great thread. Need help valuing a perk. My current company offers organic free food (breakfast, lunch, dinner if you are ok with bare bones stuff, snacks, drinks, etc) and I consider it a big perk since I don't have to pack food daily and sometimes bring something home so I don't have to cook dinner. Saves me $4-$5 daily and atleast half an hour of effort and time. I have another offer which is WFH most of the time for lesser salary. Kids would be in daycare and most other costs won't change (commute isn't bad and I'll still have two cars, one for me and one for DH). The advantage is we'll have more slightly time if I WFH. How much would you cost the free food perk?

If you figure roughly 240 working days per year at $4-5 dollars a day that would give you somewhere between $1000-1200. The 30 minutes of time it saved you would most likely be more than evened out by not having a commute.

Not sure what your specifics are but that doesn't seem like enough to let it sway your decision too much either way.

@firelight - Interesting! For me it would be an easy answer - I'd take a flexible, WFH/remote job at a 10% or so reduced pay, no questions asked. For me, at least, the time and money saved from not needing to dress up for work, commute (even if it's walking or public transportation), and other miscellany more than makes up for it. Before the tax change, the home office deduction made a difference as well.

Of course this depends on how much you make, how much that extra difference in income makes to your life, how much of a burden it is to you personally to have to prepare more meals, and how you personally value the flexibility and comfort of WFH vs. in an office.

Have you done WFH/remote before?



Random update - I'm the OP on this thread from 2+ years ago! I've changed employers and job roles, but I am still WFH with even more flexibility than before (less need to be available during business hours; more ability to work from different locations e.g. while traveling).

tipster350

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 165
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2018, 01:23:42 PM »
My company has a well-developed work at home infrastructure, and most of my colleagues are in other locations, most of them also working from home. But we are all on IMs, and anyone can see if I leave my desk (shows status as Inactive) and for how long I've been away. We are expected to be available for IMs, emails, and phone calls at all times during the workday. It's very much like being in an office and at the behest of bosses and coworkers who stop by your office/cube at any time and expect attention. I'm on webex/teleconference almost all day every day.

In all I am working a solid 8-5 day++ with very little break. Sure, I can throw in a quick load of laundry and take 5 minutes to fold/hang laundry here and there, but it's not the luxurious situation with lots of autonomy about how to spend my time that others envision or describe.

If anyone dared stop by for coffee, on the off chance I'd answer the door thinking it had to be urgent for anyone to come knocking, I'd be furious and would put the kibosh on such behavior immediately. Along those lines, I have had service people get very insistent with knocking and ringing the doorbell when then can see I'm home. But I'm almost always in the teleconferences and it can get very difficult when the doorbell is ringing and i can't get to the door to tell them to go away.

We have no snow days as we can work from home.

Having no commute is awesome. The increased heating and air conditioning costs cancel out any commute savings. Overall I think it is cost neutral to stay at home vs. work because of increased this and decreased that -- But the time and stress saved from no commute is invaluable.

I don't miss the in-person interactions, the massive distractions an office brings, or getting exposed to all the flu bugs and whatnot going around like wildfire in offices.

Overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives.


Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2200
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2018, 01:10:16 AM »
But we are all on IMs, and anyone can see if I leave my desk (shows status as Inactive) and for how long I've been away.

If I have my computer playing a music file (even if muted), it keeps my IM status as active. Just saying.

Zola.

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 211
  • Location: UK
  • Let's do this.
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2018, 02:40:05 AM »
Working from home should be an occasional thing in my opinion - e.g. when you have someone doing work at your house and you need to be there.

Work is for work, I like the separation.

I think we as humans need the social interaction as well, bery easy to get isolated at home.

And of course you miss out on the free coffee, you have to heat your home when you're there, and it can get a bit lonely! Once in a while its nice, but always feels a little strange to me.


mustachepungoeshere

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2226
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2018, 03:21:44 AM »
I only work from home when it's not practical to be at the office (5am, midnight, weekends, public holidays) so not really qualified to contribute, but The Oatmeal nailed it.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home

tipster350

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 165
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2018, 08:17:08 PM »
But we are all on IMs, and anyone can see if I leave my desk (shows status as Inactive) and for how long I've been away.

If I have my computer playing a music file (even if muted), it keeps my IM status as active. Just saying.

Hmmmm.....very interesting!

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1034
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2018, 10:02:48 PM »
I did a speed read through this thread but here are a few of mine:

Pros:
-Can cook more/healthier
-Can sleep in!
-Don't have to commute in bad weather

Cons: 
-For me, I need a lot of discipline to get work done.  I have to push myself more when I'm home and feeling down and have a busy day.
-Personally, I feel a bigger need to show I am a good worker which to me means being online more than most.  I just responded to an email that someone on the West Coast sent me and it's going on midnight my time. 
-I'm noise sensitive and currently find where I live now there are way more noises I ever anticipated working from home.  The guy next door to me is home every day (and apparently not working...I don't know what he does besides literally stomping up and down in his apartment all day)...someone else mentioned this but now I'm acutely aware of when the lawnmowers/weed wackers are going outside, construction, I'm home for all of the random fire drills in the apartment, random maintenance checks, construction next door, etc. etc.

Disclaimer:  I did put several years in at my company in the office so people already know who I am; I went remote a little under a year ago. I plan to start going into the office quarterly to "show my face" more though.  A very large percentage of my entire Team is partly remote, fully remote, or working in other offices all over the globe so many of them I would either never meet face to face, or would see very very rarely even if I was still in the office. 
Ever shop online? Use my referral link below for Ebates and get FREE CASH BACK on purchases!

https://www.ebates.com/r/ZZIRVI?eeid=28187

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2018, 11:57:20 PM »
Hm... yeah, the perks are nice!

I work from home, have been doing so for a while, and even built my own shoffice (shed office) to work from.

https://syonyk.blogspot.com/2016/07/solar-shed-summary-my-off-grid-office.html

It's pretty sweet having an isolated space to work from - I don't have to deal with wife/kid interactions during the day, because my office is my workspace.  And, I can configure it how I want, with no particular concerns about toddler-friendliness or such.  Plus, because it's separate from the house, it's "work" - I learned, long ago, that if I share work and personal space, I cannot separate work from not-work.  Life just becomes a blur of work, even when I should be spending time with people I live with.  Learned that one the hard way. :/

Need to "prove" that one is actually working the whole time.

This depends on one's arrangements.  In general, I've found that producing good output solves that.  And, much as it pains me, answering emails a bit more frequently (within an hour or two) is useful from this perspective.  I've set up IMs to make an awful lot of racket, in case someone wants to contact me quickly, but that's not a primary source of communication in my environment (I make sure of that).

Quote
It gets lonely.

Perk!  Left alone to be with projects and dive in deeply.  You can dive into some problem at 10AM and come up at 3PM without once having had a conversation about SportsBall or something!

Quote
When you break your work laptop.... you are completely SOL (what prompted me to start this thread, actually).

Mmhmm.  Prepper motto: "Two is one, one is none."  Applies there as well. :)

Quote
Walk outside sometimes, because you can.

I definitely take conference calls walking around my property. :)

...and the cat sleeps all day

Seriously.  I don't get the phrase "catnap."  I've successfully converted a "property cat" into a "property and office cat" - the cat, now that I've trained it not to jump on my desk, basically curls up in a box and sleeps.  All day long.  Wake up, stretch, pace around my shed one lap, go back to sleep.  I try to kick it out every few hours so it'll go use the bathroom, but it's a seriously lazy critter.

Mostly family all up in my biz all the time. Even though I set clear boundaries kids don't care because daddy is home and my wife just forgets because she's dealing with a tornado of kids and dog all the time. I had to be quick with the mute button.

Do you have a good back yard?  Could you build a shoffice? :D

Quote
Distractions were another battle. It's easy to get on facebook and waste time. I made sure to set my 'if you do nothing else' list, 3 or 4 goals that had to be done. Did them in the AM and coasted the rest of the time.

Just block that crap.  It's useless, period... :p
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2200
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2018, 04:05:00 AM »
But we are all on IMs, and anyone can see if I leave my desk (shows status as Inactive) and for how long I've been away.

If I have my computer playing a music file (even if muted), it keeps my IM status as active. Just saying.

Hmmmm.....very interesting!

There is also a cute little program called caffeine. I can run it off as USB stick without admin privileges, it mimics moving your mouse one pixel every minute or so.

I also do my actual work. But I exploit the fact that very little of my work needs to be done between 8am and 6pm but my office has some fixed ideas about when work should be done!

Lmoot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 529
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2018, 04:22:39 AM »
PROS
- typical stuff: savings on gas, food, time
- more time with pets/ family when theyre home
- able to get most chores done before clocking out (or in if youre an early riser)
- binge on Netflix (my job doesnt take much focus 80% of the time, since its based on production
- taking coffee breaks, barefoot, in the backyard (yeah that ones specific)
- able to create a comfortable work space (I use a standing desk now, can prop my feet on my desk, etc)
- I find that I have less overhead wah, but as others pointed out, depending on your work or boss, the opposite could be true
- more schedule flexibility; I can work longer, and on weekends to make up time


CONS
- IT issues tend to be more of a pain in the butt (luckily in 1.5 years I only had to bring my computer in once)
- production goals are slightly higher for wah at my job (since its considered an incentive)
- you can feel isolated...though Im an introvert, rarely socialized in the office anyway, and have a highly social weekend job, so thats never been a problem for me.
- stairs! I used to keep in shape walking 10 floors up and down. My butt has gotten flatter (not good) since wah, and I hate gym equipment


Sharkey

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2018, 04:31:22 AM »
I work from home the odd time, but I really don't like the way it blurs the boundaries between personal and work time.
Focus is harder for me as well, even though my workspace is quieter than in the office.
Weirdly, I don't have this issue when doing part-time study from home - perhaps because I consider that more a leisure activity than a work activity?


RobFIRE

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 275
  • Age: 34
  • Location: UK
  • Projected FIRE May 2020
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2018, 05:35:21 AM »
My setup is that I am normally working on a client project and expected to be at client's office in the middle of the week. I WFH when not on client site, and between projects. So I probably end up 60% client site, 40% home, only going to actual office for a day every few months.

WFH isn't for everyone. There are various definite advantages, some potential disadvantages, and many possible smaller advantages and disadvantages. Most have already been mentioned above. For me it is about avoiding any commute cost (time and money) and offering flexibility both ways (to me and my employer). The flexibility for me is both macro (live several hours away from actual office), and micro (WFH means can be at home for deliveries, can take a break to do a few minutes' exercise at any time, can time shift hours around other plans).

If you work for a larger company with multiple offices, and/or work with clients in multiple locations, WFH tends to fit better as if you're not in front of the person whether you are at home or in another office etc. likely doesn't matter, and colleagues are used to decentralized working. Secondly if you work for a company that values flexibility in you (work in evening to cover different time zones etc., available at weekend if issue arises), WFH tends to fit better (the flexibility then goes both ways).

The question of productivity/discipline and focus is an interesting one. I think there are plenty of ways not to be productive or not be able to be productive, whether you are at home or in an office. I think that being productive comes down to the individual and the culture/processes of the company being enablers for productivity and good working processes, rather than location per se.

Certainly WFH works for me, and I think it works for my company as I am more willing than my colleagues to travel & spend lots of time on client site, so WFH is a "win win".

I think WFH will become more common for office workers. Employers and employees are increasingly looking for more flexibility; WFH means employers can hire from a wider talent pool rather than the commute distance around office; WFH means companies don't need to maintain such large offices (expensive if in city centre etc.).

Smokystache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2018, 05:50:58 AM »
Hm... yeah, the perks are nice!

I work from home, have been doing so for a while, and even built my own shoffice (shed office) to work from.

https://syonyk.blogspot.com/2016/07/solar-shed-summary-my-off-grid-office.html


Oh, that's definitely a word that needs to become more common. I write a lot for my work and I dream about a work/writing shed/office space ... but haven't taken the steps to create my own yet.

big_slacker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1178
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2018, 06:36:04 AM »
For the last 10 years I've been either full WFH or partial. I also am a WFH evangelist and design/build LARGE VPN infrastructures. (Current project built for almost 200k users worldwide)

On the work laptop being a stop work situation, this should not be! Work stuff should be stored in a cloud service (sharepoint, google drive, dropbox, etc.) or the company's own on prem servers that you can reach via VPN. O365 doesn't require you to have all the apps install on your personal device. If the company doesn't want to do BYOD for personal devices they should be running some flavor kind of VDI or remote desktop. Many companies with remote workers have this stuff, though some lag behind or drag their feet.

Currently I'm in the office 2-3 times a week. Rest of the time I'm in my home office. I can arrange to work fully remote if I need to be in another city for something for a short period of time. This huge tech company strangely has an in office culture. You can be full remote, many people I work with are. But you'll likely get stuck career wise at a certain point of you are. I give them shit about it whenever the opportunity presents itself. :D

Previous to this I was almost completely remote unless I was flying to a customer for billable work. LOVED this. Bench time (not billable) I could study new tech, generally be in meetings and answer emails. Rest of the time I could do what I want. I did hit the local sales office once every week or two to go out for lunch or beers. I also flew up to the regional office or they flew to ours and again socializing is KEY to that all important team building. IMO the ideal WFH situation for me because I had freedom, got to travel a lot which was awesome, had clearly defined value (billable hours!) and saved a lot of money when traveling because EVERYTHING is on the company dime. I had to get off the road to raise my kids, but doing this part time will be the start of my 'retirement' once the kids are off to college.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 06:37:40 AM by big_slacker »

MustachianVol

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2018, 08:01:58 PM »
What a tremendous thread for those of us already working from home.  Good to see other perspectives and tips.

Question for those that live in cities that otherwise would require a car for commuting.  Have any of you shed your car (or at least gone to 1 car family) now that you work from home?  What was your experience?

We are about to pull the trigger.  Live in Nashville which is has less than 0 public trans.  Wife is a teacher, and I work from home or travel.  I'm legitimately tired of owning two cars as it seems excessive.  It's not even much of a financial savings as the car we are shedding is a beat up Japanese sedan.

MustachianVol

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2018, 08:13:22 PM »
I work from home when not traveling to client sites (about a 60% travel split).  As an independent consultant, it makes it easier to check out and disappear during the day. No boss to "prove it" to that I was logged in and working, so that eliminates one of the common "cons" I saw above. 

The worst part is undoubtedly when friends or family are at the house during primary working hours.  Non WFH people don't understand this, and the best way I can explain it to friends is asking them, if given the choice, would they take their wives to work for 3 hours a day.  The wife and I have developed a pretty good system to make this work, but it can still be challenging.

I've found a defined start and end to the day is critical.  I do this by taking my dog outside and sitting on the patio for 5 minutes (weather permitting) - an action I always did right before my commute. When I come back in, it's time to work.

I have worked with someone in the past that would actually walk out his back door and back in his front door as his "commute" to work.  Best mental game I've ever heard.

iluvzbeach

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 208
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2018, 10:26:13 PM »
What a tremendous thread for those of us already working from home.  Good to see other perspectives and tips.

Question for those that live in cities that otherwise would require a car for commuting.  Have any of you shed your car (or at least gone to 1 car family) now that you work from home?  What was your experience?

We are about to pull the trigger.  Live in Nashville which is has less than 0 public trans.  Wife is a teacher, and I work from home or travel.  I'm legitimately tired of owning two cars as it seems excessive.  It's not even much of a financial savings as the car we are shedding is a beat up Japanese sedan.

Ive WFH for about 6 years now and two years ago we moved across the country to live where we wanted to live forever and I still WFH for the same company. Rather than bring my car across the country with us, we decided to sell it to a local dealer and bank the proceeds. We figured wed just buy another car if the one car deal proved to be problematic. Weve now been in our new city/state for 2 years, 3 months and not one time has it been an issue just having the one vehicle. We are very pleased with our decision and have saved a ton in insurance, registration, maintenance and depreciation costs. We do occasionally need to plan around using the one car, but again its never presented a problem for us.

Hope this helps provide some info that will make your decision easier.
Planning to be FIREd in 2020!

flan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1919
  • Location: Texas
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2018, 07:15:23 AM »
What a tremendous thread for those of us already working from home.  Good to see other perspectives and tips.

Question for those that live in cities that otherwise would require a car for commuting.  Have any of you shed your car (or at least gone to 1 car family) now that you work from home?  What was your experience?

We are about to pull the trigger.  Live in Nashville which is has less than 0 public trans.  Wife is a teacher, and I work from home or travel.  I'm legitimately tired of owning two cars as it seems excessive.  It's not even much of a financial savings as the car we are shedding is a beat up Japanese sedan.

Ive WFH for about 6 years now and two years ago we moved across the country to live where we wanted to live forever and I still WFH for the same company. Rather than bring my car across the country with us, we decided to sell it to a local dealer and bank the proceeds. We figured wed just buy another car if the one car deal proved to be problematic. Weve now been in our new city/state for 2 years, 3 months and not one time has it been an issue just having the one vehicle. We are very pleased with our decision and have saved a ton in insurance, registration, maintenance and depreciation costs. We do occasionally need to plan around using the one car, but again its never presented a problem for us.

Hope this helps provide some info that will make your decision easier.

I probably deserve a facepunch. I live in Houston and haven't been able to pull that trigger. My spouse takes his car to work 30mi away from 7am to 5-6pm. In theory I could get rid of my car and *try* public transit or even do rideshare options for getting places during the day (e.g. gym, rare professional meetings, fun escapades), but I feel like I don't have the time to spend 2x-5x longer commuting during the work day just to save on car expenses. It would be different if  our one car was more accessible during the day... or am I just making excuses?

MustachianVol

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2018, 09:17:56 AM »
What a tremendous thread for those of us already working from home.  Good to see other perspectives and tips.

Question for those that live in cities that otherwise would require a car for commuting.  Have any of you shed your car (or at least gone to 1 car family) now that you work from home?  What was your experience?

We are about to pull the trigger.  Live in Nashville which is has less than 0 public trans.  Wife is a teacher, and I work from home or travel.  I'm legitimately tired of owning two cars as it seems excessive.  It's not even much of a financial savings as the car we are shedding is a beat up Japanese sedan.

Ive WFH for about 6 years now and two years ago we moved across the country to live where we wanted to live forever and I still WFH for the same company. Rather than bring my car across the country with us, we decided to sell it to a local dealer and bank the proceeds. We figured wed just buy another car if the one car deal proved to be problematic. Weve now been in our new city/state for 2 years, 3 months and not one time has it been an issue just having the one vehicle. We are very pleased with our decision and have saved a ton in insurance, registration, maintenance and depreciation costs. We do occasionally need to plan around using the one car, but again its never presented a problem for us.

Hope this helps provide some info that will make your decision easier.

This is exactly what I needed to hear.  We've been thinking about the "worst case scenario" in two ways:

1. I replace total annual car spend for my car with uber/lyft dollar for dollar.  Worst case scenario is we save no money, but the headache of owning a car is gone while still maintaining freedom of movement

2. if the whole thing blows up, I'll just buy a $1500 beater to get around occasionally.

Both of those seem like pretty painless downsides.

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 443
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2018, 10:52:55 AM »
I love WFH.  Would never go back to the office.  That said, it would be nice to have the option to go to an office for a few hours per week for socializing, catching up with co-workers, etc.

I've been working from home for decades.  I can't fathom those who don't have the luxury to do so....it seems so primitive, like going back to the stone age, lol.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

iluvzbeach

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 208
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2018, 07:19:30 PM »
What a tremendous thread for those of us already working from home.  Good to see other perspectives and tips.

Question for those that live in cities that otherwise would require a car for commuting.  Have any of you shed your car (or at least gone to 1 car family) now that you work from home?  What was your experience?

We are about to pull the trigger.  Live in Nashville which is has less than 0 public trans.  Wife is a teacher, and I work from home or travel.  I'm legitimately tired of owning two cars as it seems excessive.  It's not even much of a financial savings as the car we are shedding is a beat up Japanese sedan.

Ive WFH for about 6 years now and two years ago we moved across the country to live where we wanted to live forever and I still WFH for the same company. Rather than bring my car across the country with us, we decided to sell it to a local dealer and bank the proceeds. We figured wed just buy another car if the one car deal proved to be problematic. Weve now been in our new city/state for 2 years, 3 months and not one time has it been an issue just having the one vehicle. We are very pleased with our decision and have saved a ton in insurance, registration, maintenance and depreciation costs. We do occasionally need to plan around using the one car, but again its never presented a problem for us.

Hope this helps provide some info that will make your decision easier.

I probably deserve a facepunch. I live in Houston and haven't been able to pull that trigger. My spouse takes his car to work 30mi away from 7am to 5-6pm. In theory I could get rid of my car and *try* public transit or even do rideshare options for getting places during the day (e.g. gym, rare professional meetings, fun escapades), but I feel like I don't have the time to spend 2x-5x longer commuting during the work day just to save on car expenses. It would be different if  our one car was more accessible during the day... or am I just making excuses?

If I lived in Houston and my spouse worked 30 miles from home, Id probably do exactly as you are. In fact, I did. We lived in ATX before our cross-country move to the PNW. We now live in a very walkable, bikable area, so it works for us now and didnt before. No face punches as far as Im concerned.
Planning to be FIREd in 2020!

iluvzbeach

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 208
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2018, 07:23:12 PM »
P.S. What MV said in reply #42 is also a viable option.

Perhaps next time you need to buy a car, you try to go without and use Uber/Lyft when you do need one and see if thats terribly inconvenient. It could be worth a shot. Also, any chance your spouse has a ride share option?
Planning to be FIREd in 2020!

libertarian4321

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1294
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2018, 03:59:46 AM »
Quote
Benefits
No, or very low, commuting costs, no traffic.

The wear and tear on my slippers as I travel to my desk is BRUTAL!

Quote
Home office tax deduction, most likely!

Be VERY careful with that.  I've been working from home for years.  I've never attempted to claim the deduction.

Quote
More autonomy.

Yup.


Quote
Potential downfalls
Need to "prove" that one is actually working the whole time.

I have a theory that the average office worker spends about 20% of his time doing productive work.  The rest of the time is spent BSing with co-workers, surfing the net, taking a long lunch, participating in pointless meetings, cake parties, sucking up to superiors, and other nonsense.

I've found that it ain't hard to play with my dogs, watch Springer and two episodes of Judge Judy, manage my investments, fix the kitchen sink, and still be more productive than the average office worker.

Quote
It gets lonely.

See the part about "playing with dogs" above.  Side benefit:  My dogs are actually capable of more intelligent conversation than some of my co workers were.

Quote
When you break your work laptop.... you are completely SOL (what prompted me to start this thread, actually).

Don't most people have multiple computers these days?  My office laptop is a POS that is dying.  No big deal, I'll just use my desktop in the next room for a few days until my new laptop comes in.

Quote
Sometimes you cost more to the company due to home office expenses + mandatory travel back to HQ.

Not a chance.  Companies LOVE home workers if they produce at a reasonable level.  It's a hell of a lot cheaper to toss you a computer and printer than provide you with expensive commercial office space.  There is nothing you have in your home office that you wouldn't have in the office.

Quote
Miss out on coworker interactions, if you were into that kind of thing.

I'm lucky.  I live less than 30 miles from the "home office."  If I miss the scintillating banter of the office, I can go there anytime.

Needless to say, one trip to the office seems to completely fill my "office banter" quota for the month...

Er, I should mention that I'm NOT a social butterfly.  If you are the office "chatty Cathy," working from home will probably kill you.  If you are the guy who wishes "chatty Cathy" would just shut the heck up and let you work, you might be a prime candidate for working from home...

« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 04:02:06 AM by libertarian4321 »

Jouer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 270
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2018, 07:15:54 AM »
For those saying that home expenses such as heat/light might increase, I haven't found that to be the case for me personally.

I don't tend to stay in the home office to work - I move around the house during the day chasing the sunlight. So, I rarely need extra lights on (aside from grey winter days). In the winter I don't really jack up the heat - just wear sweater/warm socks. And in the summer I don't need to use extra AC (I rarely use AC anyways) b/c I work from the back patio a lot of the time.

Lmoot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 529
Re: Mustachians who WORK FROM HOME
« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2018, 07:37:01 AM »
^ same. I work in a room with natural light, and I dont turn the lights on until it gets dark, when Id normally be home anyway. I never adjust the temp when Im home. I have pets so I just keep it at their comfort thresholds (68 in winter, and 80 in summer) and adjust myself to that. Charging my phone and computer use (both which are minimal in terms of vs savings from commuting)), are the only extra things I do. Maybe cooking as well, usually though its microwaving...not revving up the whole stove.