More and more companies are allowing their employees to telecommute, or work from home. With smartphones, tablets, laptops and wireless Internet, this is easier to do than ever before.
However, employees have to be careful about why they decide to work from home. Sometimes employees would be better off using PTO or a vacation day rather than working from home in order to take care of a sick child or oversee some project at home.
If you're ever in doubt about whether you should work from home or not, here are three reasons it's always a good idea to work from home.
You have a long commute to work
This is one of the most common reasons employees choose to work from home. A few years ago, I worked in an office that was 60 miles from where I lived. That's over two hours of driving every day, just getting to and from work. My gas bill was astronomical, not to mention I was getting up at 5:30 every morning, something I hated more than the long commute.
After about a month of training and getting acclimated into a new job, my boss allowed me to start working from home a few days a week. This reduced my job-related stress immensely, as it allowed me to get a little more sleep, spend more time with my family in the evenings, and save some money on gas. Eventually I relocated closer to work, but the flexibility working from home offered improved my work-life balance quite a bit.
You work better on your own
It's always good to interact with your co-workers whenever possible, but some people get their best work done when they are away from the bustle of the office. Writers, designers, software engineers and employees from a variety of other fields thrive when they are given more freedom to work where they want, when they want. The office environment isn't ideal for everyone, and as long as you can prove to your employer that you get your best work done on your own terms, why wouldn't you work from home?
You feel a cold coming on
We've all been guilty of this: going to work or school when we're sick. I can't count the number of times a minor epidemic spread throughout my office because one person came to work sick. It sets everyone back, all because one person ignored their symptoms and put everyone else at risk.
If you feel something coming on, don't go to work. If your co-workers simply can't do without you for the day, do as much work from home as you can while getting the rest you need to get better.
If you notice a lot more sneezing and coughing going on throughout the office, it couldn't hurt to remove yourself from the line of fire for a few days to protect yourself from sickness altogether.
Working from home is a wonderful benefit that you should take advantage of if you can, but make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.