Like many office workers, I’ve been working from home for the past year or so. And I’m just going to come out and say it – I love it. I love not having to get fully ready in the morning, and I love not having to fight traffic just to start my day. Now more than ever, I’m “showing up” to work with less stress and with more energy than ever before.
Given how much I’m enjoying working from home, I started to wonder what is it really worth to be able to work from home? For example, would I give up my current position for a new job that paid more but required me to be in person at the office? And if so, how much more money would it take? I’m sure many of us are asking ourselves the same question, especially as vaccines are distributed, and managers become anxious to have their peons (us!) back in the office.
The Working From Home Lifestyle
A huge benefit of working from home is simply the time it saves. My wife, for example, being the well-dressed professional woman that she is, saves a ton of time getting ready every morning. Unsurprisingly, just putting on some sweat pants is a lot faster than the whole hair and makeup routine she used to endure each day. I’m finding similar savings in my morning routine. Sweat pants are the new business casual – emphasis on casual – and I’m not overly excited to go back to my regular attire.
Other than getting ready each morning, the most significant time savings come from not having to commute. Having grown up in the suburbs, we bought our home here despite our jobs being closer to the city’s core. As a result, commuting has been a regular part of life for us. My commute, for example, was typically 30 minutes each way. A nuisance, but not so severe that we resolved to move closer to work. But now that we’ve gone many months without it, it’s hard to imagine incorporating our commutes back into our lifestyle.
Working From Home Saves Time
If I add up the time I’m saving by not having a commute and the time I save not having to get ready for work, I’m saving about an hour and a half each day. Now, you might think that an hour and a half isn’t much, but if you consider that there are 261 working days per year in Canada, it adds up to a lot of time. For me, it adds up to 392 hours per year that I’m saving by working from home.
This is essentially the excess time I’m donating to my job, and it has a huge impact. For example, if I made $40 per hour, my effective hourly wage for a standard 8-hour workday would be $33 per hour. That’s a pretty big reduction if you ask me.
Another way to look at it is to try and value how much your time outside of work is worth. I know that I’d happily pay $20 per day if it meant I could have that extra hour and a half back to spend time with my family or work on hobbies I enjoy (like this blog!). So, given that I was wasting 392 hours per year by having an in-person job, I value the time savings generated by working from home at $7,840. Not an insignificant amount – at all!
Working From Home Saves Money
Working from home is also saving us money in a more direct way. Before COVID, my wife spent $180 per month on public transit, and I was spending $215 per month on gas. These days, we spend $0 on public transit and a measly $54 per month on gas. I also reduced my car insurance to pleasure use, adding another $10 per month to our savings. These are real, cash in hand, monthly savings thanks to working from home. In total, not needing to commute is saving us $351 per month or $4,212 per year!
Quitting Working From Home
So the math seems pretty simple; if someone offered me a job for $10k more, I’d take it, right? Well, the surprising answer is no, I wouldn’t. In fact, I’d look for a job that paid at least twice that much more before I’d consider it over my current working from home situation. That’s because the dollars and cents savings are only one way that working from home benefits me.
The other significant benefits – of seeing my wife more often and being less stressed each day – are worth far more than the amount of money I’m saving on gas. The fact is, both of us are just much happier with our lifestyle than we were before working from home became a thing.
At least for the foreseeable future, we’re going to try to keep this lifestyle, or some version of it, and not commit ourselves to a job that requires us to commute to an office every day. How about you?
Thanks for Reading!
Thank you for reading out my post on my experience working from home over the past year. Are you working from home? How are you liking it? Do you hope to continue working from home next year? Let’s discuss!
If you’re interested in reading more, two of my recent popular posts include my primer on leveraged investing and my guide to closing costs in Canada. If you’d like to stay up to date with my latest posts, consider following me on social media or signing up for my monthly newsletter!