The Internet Home Business Magazine for Moms & Dads

Why More People Should Be Working From Home And How You Can


I’ve not had to get in a car and drive to work for more than ten years. And I’ve loved every minute of it.

There’s nothing like getting up in the morning and not having to rush into the shower, shave, get dressed, catch some grub and sit in traffic during a long commute. According to a recent Gallop Poll, the average American spends 46 minutes on their daily work commute. 46 minutes, that’s basically an hour.

Let’s see how much time we spend in our cars just getting to and from work:

If we round down to 45 minutes per day that’s 3/4 of an hour. 3/4 of an hour each day multiplied by 5 days per work week is 3 hours and 45 minutes each week we spend in the car. Over a month that’s 13 hours and 48 minutes. But the staggering number for me is the time the average American spends in the car over a year - it’s more than 158 hours. And that includes taking two weeks off.

158 hours each year spent in our cars driving to make living…wow! If you go a little further with the math and divide our 158 hour by a 40 hour work week, we’re nearly spending an entire month (4 weeks) of potential work or free time sitting in our cars.

Imagine if your job could give you a month of work time back each year. Or a month of vacation. Or you got that extra 158 hours with your family or doing a hobby. Heck, starting a hobby for that matter. What could you do with that time?

I know what I’d do…I’d start a home-based business. I’d start a business so I could stop wasting so much time driving back and forth to work. I’d start a business so I could have more of my time for what I want. Which is one of the main reasons I’m self-employed.

And if I couldn’t start a business for some reason, or didn’t want too what would I do? I’d spend some serious time thinking of how I can convince my boss that I need to work from home. How might I do that?

Well, if I go to my boss and say I want to work from home because it benefits me…well, we know that answer to that one already. But if I can come up with some really good reasons why working from home would make me more productive and help the company - now I have something to stand on.

Here’s one way to approach this with your boss:

  • Start logging all the ways you waste time at work. You know, the ways your production is constantly interrupted by your work environment. And have that ready when you sit down to discuss working from home.
  • Think through all the little details of why your need to be in the office and find solutions for how each of these can be met at home. Have them ready when you talk to your boss. Even offer some of them up before (s)he brings them up. There is almost nothing that can’t be communicated by phone, email, fax and the internet today.
  • Talk about how working at home will let you focus on work in a quiet, uninterrupted environment where you can be far more productive for the company. Don’t mention that you can get up late, sit around in your pj’s while you’re on a morning conference call, sipping tea.
  • Don’t approach your boss that you want to transition from working at home. Rather, bring up the idea as though you just you’d like to do it on a trial basis one day each week. Find someone who works at home part-time - a friend or a neighbor - or reference some book, magazine article or tv show you watched on the topic. Mention that you’re curious to try it as though it’s not your original thought.
  • When you get your boss to agree to let you work from home one or two days each week, work like a dog. Really. Don’t just show you can be as productive or slightly more. Be incredibly more productive. And log it all. Then you can some raw data to your boss and show them it’s working out.

If you want to work at home the most important thing is to show your boss and your company how it will benefit them. You already know how it’s going to benefit you. They simply don’t need to know that.

One last point…I can see how all these suggestions sounding a bit like manipulation. Just so I’ve said it, I don’t hold it that way. The bottom line is in almost all circumstance you can get more work done at home than in the office. But your boss doesn’t necessarily believe that. And why would they. It’s a new concept. So give them an opportunity to see things differently without their own ideas getting in the way.

Hi, I’m Dawud Miracle. Professionally, I’m a blog and marketing consultant, business coach, educator and web developer who helps people use their websites to grow their business. I’m also a devoted husband and father to two, soon to be three, children. And I’m always interested in a good conversation.
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    On September 19th, 2007 at 1:11 pm, Kaj said:

    That’s why I go cycling. I have had my cycling training and come home and feel very well. That’s even better then working at home.
    I think that the best thing would be working at home and go cycling every day and don’t feel the pressure of getting in time at work.

    On September 19th, 2007 at 6:26 pm, lornadoone said:

    I find it fascintaing to take that amount of time spent in the vehicle and add to it the cost of gas and maintenance - plus whatever you spend in lunches, etc. at work. When I started working from home a couple of years ago, I had a smaller paycheck, but I didn’t end up losing out on that much actual pay once it was adjusted for these numbers.

    On September 19th, 2007 at 7:33 pm, James said:

    I think I just heard that statistic also-it’s staggering.
    Soon I will be ending my own daily commute. My main goal is to get so I do not have to take my wife to work either.

    On September 19th, 2007 at 7:35 pm, Des Walsh said:

    Great post, Dawud. I don’t miss the commute either. Years ago, when what was then and sometimes still is called, quaintly and misleadingly, “telecommuting”, first started to be noticed, I asked a manager how he knew that people at home were actually working. His not totally whimsical reply was “how do I know they are working when they are in the office”? As a former CEO, I related. But you make a good point about the value of logging what you do during the experimental phase. There is one downside risk I’ll probably post about myself, which is that if you are out of the office you can be out of the loop on office politics, which can mean you get excluded from decisions, or even blindsided. You need to factor in whether that is likely and if so how much or how little it matters to you.

    On September 20th, 2007 at 2:06 am, Joann said:

    One of my favorite books “The 4 hour work week” by Tim Ferriss talks about this. He also talks about how to decide what to ignore so you have more time. He recommends only checking email once or twice a day, and has other info-overload tips.

    Anything that allows us to have more of a life is a good thing!


    On September 20th, 2007 at 6:36 am, Susan Payton said:

    You’ve read “4 Hour Workweek!”

    I find that I get more done in a single hour than I used to in 4 hours working for someone else, because I would greet everyone who stopped by and find a million reasons to get distracted. Now I sit at my computer until my stomach growls 4 hours later!

    On September 20th, 2007 at 9:07 am, Adam Kayce : Monk At Work said:

    I’m already a work-at-homer, so I’m down with this already…

    I just wanted to mention that there’s another good post about this (sans the Dawud flair, of course) at Tim Ferriss’ blog (which Joann mentioned), here.

    It was so recent, I couldn’t help think of the synchronicity.

    On September 20th, 2007 at 9:07 am, Vjai said:

    Well… Tht was a crazy bit of calculation and analysis done by u.. Funny but itz absolutely true…

    On September 20th, 2007 at 10:15 am, Dawud Miracle said:

    @Everyone: I, too, was shocked by the time people spend on their commutes. That’s why I had to write about it. Having not commuted in years, I can’t relate. I just know I don’t want to back there.

    @Des: Great point on office politics and decisions. Off the top of my head, not sure what you could do about that. Any ideas?

    @Susan: Yep, read it. And I coached someone on how to do this more than a year ago. We created a plan and she worked it through step-by-step. It took 4 months, but she was working from home 90% of time (she actually wanted to be in the office a couple days per month). I wonder how she dealt with office politics. We didn’t talk about that.

    On September 20th, 2007 at 12:18 pm, derek said:

    Dawud, I had just posted about the same topic over at Dad Balance and my commute has been killing me.

    With all of the construction, I’ve been pushing 2 hours in the morning and about 1.5 on the way home. Over 4 work days, that is 14 hours per week in the car!

    On September 20th, 2007 at 2:15 pm, Andrew Boyd said:

    Hi Dawud,

    great post.

    My RSS reader doesn’t show the subheads (like author name) so I did a double-take when I read the “getting up and shaving” bit (reading Wendy’s blog as I was), I had all sorts of images, OK, let’s not go there :)

    Too many people do spend too much of their lives in commuting - I did work from home for a year or so (working for someone else) but when I did have to commute it was a two-hour highway exercise, which was just as unpleasant in its own way. I’m quite open to the idea of one day working for myself :)

    Thanks, Andrew

    On September 20th, 2007 at 3:35 pm, Wendy Piersall said:

    ROFLMAO Andrew!!!

    On September 20th, 2007 at 9:32 pm, Des Walsh said:

    No short answer on the office politics, but it is in one sense a sub-set of being part of the office community. I would suggest that it would be good to bring this in from the outset, as part of the negotiation with the employer/supervisor. Not with the phrase “office politics”, but being frank about not wanting to cut yourself off from the life of the office and being concerned not to be left out of the planning and decision-making loop. It’s about making the supervisors and colleagues aware that you want and expect to be included in. If a meeting is to be scheduled on one of your days at home, you want to know that well enough in advance to be able to get into the office if it is important enough, or for someone to call you,preferably on a speakerphone, from the conference, so you can have your say. It’s all about making clear you want to be a player in the game, not just hear about the game later and how you lost, sorry about that but, you know, you weren’t there. Hmm, I can feel a teleseminar series coming on :)

    On September 21st, 2007 at 6:03 am, Dawud Miracle said:

    @Derek: Two hour commute because of construction…enough to send me over the edge. Good luck.

    @Andrew: I’m with Wendy…

    @Des: Good advice. Hasn’t been my concern in a long time. Thanks.

    On September 21st, 2007 at 10:34 pm, Des Walsh said:

    Thanks for your comment on my post referencing this. In that comment you reiterated the suggestion covered in your last “work like a dog” bullet point above and I have to say that suggestion gives me some degree of discomfort. One of the challenges I’ve seen in others working from home is that they often work harder than they did when they were commuting, and are not necessarily better remunerated. Why encourage that sort of mentality? Most of the people doing this sort of thing are knowledge workers not process workers and logging productivity as distinct from hours worked is not an easy thing for knowledge workers - were you more productive at the keyboard or sitting with a coffee in the garden doing a mindmap?

    What would you say to a more open discussion with a supervisor about how they measure productivity, asking what they would see as proving the new system worked? Perhaps I’m thinking like an employer or a boss, but some employers and bosses have been known to be capable of having enlightened views about what really constitutes productivity and not needing to have everybody in the workforce physically present and able to be watched for signs of slacking off. Would value your observations on that.

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. Each moment has an opportunity cost - A 4 Hour Work Week Forum on September 20th, 2007 at 12:32 pm
    2. How To Test Working From Home and Still Keep Your Job : Thinking Home Business on September 20th, 2007 at 9:27 pm
    3. Mom Coming Home on September 21st, 2007 at 9:04 pm

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